Friday, August 24, 2012

A Subway Story


For most New Yorkers, Friday morning was like every other day. Of course the N train was crowded. Big and small arms stretched across more big and small arms in search of a pole or a corner for balance. A mother tickled her infant’s chin as it cooed and squealed in the stroller. Neighbors looked on and smiled at the sight of such maternal bliss. A sprinkle of daydreamers throughout the car gazed out the window with glassed over eyes, lost in their own thoughts. Everyone else was buried in something. Nose in book. Eyes on phone. Ears jammed with personal melodies. The air appeared still, normal and silent. The train was in perfectly harmonious order as it made it’s descent from Queens down into Manhattan. 

Then, one nose curled from a young woman whose eyes wouldn’t normally part from Jay-Z’s “Decoded.” She was forced to look up. Her eyes met with another young woman who winced at the same moment. Other eyes in the slowly clearing out car nervously met others, faces scowling in retched agreement. Then all eyes darted to the right of the car, scanning for the source of the putrid odor that distracted them from their travelling minds in such a disrespectful and abrupt manner. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

#AugustWritingChallenge [Week 2]


#AugustWritingChallenge - Day 10 - Green 

Green, the color I have a love/hate relationship with. 

I was never really familiar with that color and all that came with it until I went away to school. It started with the smell. At first I didn't know what that sour but sweet smell was that I whiffed any and EVERYWHERE on campus. After a few months, the scent became as standard an aroma as eua de parfum. 

Though the smell was nice, I hated the way it permeated my collegiate social life. No matter the function, no matter the crowd, no matter the time of day, Mary Jane was always around and available plentifully, with eternally willing part takers in tow. Now I try not to judge avid smokers, but to often be the non-chiefer in a room full of bowls and blunts and happy blowers gets annoying. 

Too many plummed lips and scarlet tinged eyes from a successful wake and bake greeted me in the morning. Too many late night nacho cravings, hap hazard laughing spells, overwhelming sleepiness and the desire to just chill were a part of my night adventures (most of which weren't all too adventurous because the only traveling that took place was in adamant pursuit of a weed man). 

But why though? Why every day? And every night? At every recreational activity? What happened to the drink-and-dance method that worked before?

I just want to shake my behind (as classily as possible) and do hoodrat things with my friends, not sit around in deep and philosophical thought about the world's issues and how real the Illuminati is and the rise of black power in America.

Sure you can sling arguments my way about how much "healthier" kush is for you then a cup of Henny and coke, but, if you couldn't figure out by now, I don't care. But fine, let's ditch the cocktails. No one knows how to have sober fun or even function when they're down here on the ground. "Oh, my mind works better when I'm high. I have better thoughts." That's sad. Sir and/or madam, that just means something is wrong with your brain. 

I'm over always hearing people talk about how they're such broke college students and how they indulge in only the delicacies of Top Ramen with a splash of hot sauce. Oh. Really? But you buy at least a dime bag a day, or sometimes split an eighth if you're having a good (or a really rough) day. Yet you have no money to buy any food? Okay.

I've learned that I don't hate weedheads for what they do. It's your body, do with it what you want. But the "Going Green" pothead lifestyle that's running rampant right now is what never fails to get under my skin.

No, I don't want to have to factor vices into my night to have fun. I just want to sit, talk, dance, and have fun with good people who are in their normal, unaltered state of mind. Is that really so much to ask?

Apparently, the greenhouse thinks so. 

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#AugustWritingChallenge - Day 9 - Rhythm 

my city has a rhythm
every corner has its note
emcees rapping to you as you pass
selling their CDs and high hopes
from coins jingling at overpriced magazine stands
and the harmonicas, accordions, and fiddles of makeshift sidewalk bands
the click of the turnstiles in full rotation
the muddled shuffles of feet in every rushing station
the nighttime patriotic sirens blare
from the city's finest who've never really cared
yes.
New York City has a rhythm
but not everyone can play the song
get on strong in the concrete zoo
juggle barhops, fests and thrift shops
while your rent is past due
the beat of every borough
mesh with the staccato of the state
that can make music without you
unless the impact that you make
is audible
applaudable
something of a marvel
my single's being written
with the experiences i'm living
ah, yes, the sweet music
my city has a rhythm.

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#AugustWritingChallenge - Day 8 - Renew

You ever worked so hard that your body started reacting? Losing sleep as the weeks pass with less and less days to yourself dedicated to loafing around? Being so on the go so much that your limbs start to ache?

But it  felt so good?

Doesn't seem to equate, huh. And in theory, it doesn't. If you're feeling like this, then you should slow down and take it easy, right? Right. But..... my excitement nips that recovery treatment in the bud. 

This summer, I have exhausted every fiber of my being into writing, researching, learning, and putting myself out there. I'm making it a point to go to as many casual social functions as my body can take, because you don't know when you may stumble across your next inspiration and/or opportunity. I'm manning two internships at two wonderfully different publications, VIBE Magazine and TheRoot.com, and couldn't feel more grateful for them. I'm loving every second of it, and even though the fatigue is in deed there, my spirit feels renewed. 

Let's rewind two years ago to my junior year in college. I could quite bluntly tell you that I hated journalism. My professor was giving me a hard time and I was slowly falling out of love with the craft that I'd been in a serious affair with for my entire life. I couldn't have felt lower and any more confused with my purpose. Nonetheless, I followed the track of my graduation scheme and pushed through, because quite frankly, I was in too deep to turn back. I had some great internships that summer that had not too much to do with me practicing exquisite writing. And that was fine with me.

Senior year, I ended up the only student in my Feature Writing class. Surprisingly, everything went uphill. I was paired with a teacher whose expertise and heart was in line with where my dreams were a few years prior, and she led me back on the right path. I was head over heels again. The cosmos were back in order.

I don't have time to slow down for fear of losing this refreshing momentum I have. I'm inhaling transcriptions, music reviews, writing challenges, and short pieces in hopes that I will one day breathe out beautiful words on a page that people actively seek to read. I want to be recognized not only for my efficiency, but for words that make people feel and see exactly what I experience (or want them to experience) at that moment in time.

It's possible. And it's my absolute intent. 

It's time to stretch, prep, and crank out some beauties, because Stacy's got her groove back. 

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#AugustWritingChallenge - Day 7 - Fear

No lie, I’m scurred.

It’s a trivial fear and one that I know I’ve previously argued about, but I can’t help that it’s heavy on my brain.

Deep in the back of my mind, I am scared I won’t find love.

I’m perfectly aware of how young I am. I know I’ve got time. Yet I can’t help but think about all the couples around me that have started arranging their dates for holy matrimony and I haven’t even started dating. I can honestly say I’ve been on one date in my entire life. Like a real one where the guy asks you to do to an evening of random fun activities out on the town. I did that last summer. I was 21. And that was my first “date.”

I’m scared that that’s an omen. In the meantime and between time, I’ve worked on making the best me I can possibly become. I’m confident in myself and in my work. I’m taking baby steps in this health thing and even taken a stab at being domestic. (Been working on mastering a few dishes lol)

But that fear of being a self-loving, self-sustaining woman my whole life has got me a little shook.

People like Evelyn Lozada and Ochocinco –who tweeted at his own wedding ceremonies, ugh – and Christina Milian and the Dream and KimYe all them heaux on Love and Hip Hop Any Location make me feel like this love and marriage thing is doomed to jokes and reality TV coverage. And infidelity. And divorce. People don’t need marriage anymore. It’s just another contract. Why bother with it?

I want it all though. I want love. I want to marry my “best friend.” I only want to marry once and know they’re the only one.


I’m scared that it’s not my generation’s mindset. 



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#AugustWritingChallenge - Day 6 - Change

Dear Change,


You, my friend, are something else. A complexity of sorts.

No one can tell if you’re good or bad, but the hope is that you are inevitable.

On the one hand, you’re welcomed with open arms. People have prayed for you. Extinguished the flames of a birthday candle with you in mind. Thrown loose pennies into dirty wishing wells for you. Even searched the night sky to peek at a shooting star for you.

But then there are those who resist, even reject, you. People don’t like to accept you and swear that you equal negativity. Oh you changed, they say. Who do you think you are? I don’t know you anymore.

It’s quite incredible how much your name is slandered, dragged through the mud, and misconstrued on the daily.

But you and I, we’ve got a system going. You’re not always there, but every once in a while you come around when I need it the most. You’ve grabbed my hand and gracefully escorted me from point A to B to C in life. Because of you, friends have faded out of my life like black shirts turn grey, but in that same cycle, I’ve gained people I consider family. When you work your magic, I grow and become more beautiful to me each time.

If people just gave you a chance, you’d turn their lives into something real pretty. Something they would’ve never stumbled across during their stagnancy.

Shoot, soon you and I are going to create some epic stuff.

Change, you are a powerful weapon. But you’re not meant for everybody.

Glad I’m an exception.

Sincerely,
The Changed. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

#AugustWritingChallenge [Week 1]

This month, I will be joining along on a challenge to push myself as a writer. Hopefully at the end of the month after writing everyday and reading other people's work, I'll see some growth in me. To not flood my page, I'll update the posts with my weekly topics. Here we go!


#AugustWritingChallenge - Day 5 - Faith


I’m proud of myself for getting to where I am in life. I’m proud of the work I’ve done and all the applications for the lessons I’ve learned. I’m proud of me for trusting the God will lead me to my success.

But I’m the most proud of my friends for having more faith in me than I have in me.

It’s crazy how you can get so wrapped up in trying to measure up to some omnipresent standards of excellence that you get lost in the sauce trying to meet them. I’ve had so many “I’m a failure” breakdowns. It was my friends who shook me out of my funk by reminding me of all the good I’ve had and all the great that’s yet to come.

So this post is a short and sweet acknowledgement of appreciation for those of you who read everything I write, constantly speak my success into the atmosphere, and faithfully remind me that my best IS good enough.

For this, I am indeed thankful. 


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#AugustWritingChallenge - Day 4 - Physical


This is my current obsession.

Every day, I place myself in front of the mirror and prepare for my routine critical analysis.

Skin’s clearing up. My smile is still winning. I still hate my chin. I need to fix my posture. Boobs way too big. Way. Too. Big. The sight of my stomach is annoying. I need to start the Insanity workout yesterday. Which means I need a salad for lunch. But hmm, did my butt grow? Maybe a little? No? Okay. Was I always this bowlegged? Is that going to cause a health issue later in life? F**K I hate my feet.

These are my thoughts every single day. Because no matter how much someone tells you otherwise, IT MATTERS. Don’t lie to me and tell me it doesn’t.

Because it does.

You and I both know that we give someone the once over before determining if they’re worth a minute more of your time. We know we want to turn heads in a good way when we come back for Homecoming. Well at least I do. The last thing I want to do is be the butt of anyone’s jokes. People are mean these days and my ass is too sensitive for all that “keeping it real” nonsense.

The physical is the #1 most important thing in the world to people in terms of attraction solely because it is the segue to any and everything else that matters. And I have to be amply prepared.

Now I’m not saying all this is a good thing or a bad thing. But it’s a real thing.

The more you know….

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#AugustWritingChallenge - Day 3 - Connection


Connection.

I feel like half of the people writing about this word have no idea what it even means. Not anymore at least.

I’m no exception.

We’ve lost touch of the most basic forms of communicating: connecting through real-time, real life interaction. I hate talking on the phone. Texting makes my fingers hurt. My bravado increases when I’m in front of a screen but I appear to be a mute when placed in a random group setting.

More people have read my blog than talked to me in public. We think about proper ways to phrase a text message and position our LOLs in hopes that they’ll get the right message. Instead of learning to hand write letters, we’ve become experts in shrinking our most intimate thoughts into 140 characters or less. Siri seems like a more valuable companion than a boyfriend or girlfriend. When we get face to face or voice to voice with another human being, we choke.

Face it, our generation is ASS BACKWARDS.

And we have the nerve to talk anything about connection.

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#AugustWritingChallenge - Day 2 - Stereotype


I wore my Howard Alum t-shirt to work today. When I tell you I felt like a million bucks walking down a busy Hudson Street in that basic tee. I was in my own world, parading down the street, not looking at anyone as I went along. I just knew I was it. A very fabulously dressed man strutted past me and I could hear a faint “Yaaaaaaasssss Howard” come from his mouth. Ya damn skippy, I thought to myself. Though I was flattered, I didn’t turn my head. It’s that Howard effect.

I’m pretty sure in the 43 seconds of that moment that had elapsed, I was giving the whole stereotypical Howard package. I’m not sure that’s so much a bad thing.

According to the oh-so-godly opinions at large, Howard kin are bougie, semi-cocky, extremely privileged individuals who don’t walk with their heads held low and won’t accept the word “no” as a suitable answer.

I see no issue here.

Of course you have some extremes tossed into the bunch, but I love belonging to such a confident group of go-getters. Four years ago, I wouldn’t have been carrying on in such a certain fashion. I would have blended in with the sidewalk scenario like a sick chameleon. Howard changed the SH*T out of me, and I’m so glad.

If you go to Howard, it’s true, you have to deal with people who feel like the Big Guy upstairs hand delivered their sky-high-ego asses onto the Earth just to bless it.

And then you hit ‘em with the stale face: -________-.

After side-eyeing them, you do some internal assessments and realize that you’re equally (if not more) hot sh*t than they are. And if they don’t agree, then they can have several uncushioned seats. And so the bougie train continues.

All that constant competition and sense of uneasiness I experienced amongst my peers prompted me to step up my game and actually BE about it, that way I could  soon (humbly) boast about it.


I’d much rather fall into the Howard stereotypes over those that natural haired gals like me are pegged with on the daily. NO, I don’t sit in the grass. NO, I don’t like incense. NO, I have no idea what all the Adinkra symbols mean. NO, I’m not always your ‘sistah.’

Sorry, rant over. Point is: we don’t always have to run from the stereotypes that follow us. Instead, use it to realize something deeper about yourself, pull from it and use it to your benefit.

Now back to my bougie Bison swag. *shades back on. Aaaaaand strut*

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#AugustWritingChallenge - Day 1 - Money



Money, man. 


That green shit people kill each other over. Ain't nothing but a color really. Or some stinky singles that left a rapper's hands and were probably nestled in a stripper's ass crack at some point. 

What we kill each other over. What we glorify. The Almighty Dollar. How we define our success at ALL stages of our being. The currency of our lives. 

Correction, of YOUR lives. 

While I'm young, I'm not dwelling on that stuff. Money does't mean anything unless you've got joy first. And man, let me tell you how much joy I have. 

Translation: both the inside of my wallet and bank account could be the subject of a comedy show. There just isn't anything in there. 

Must suck huh? Nah, I'm good. I'm still richer than a lot of people, and that's sad. Right now, I'm basking in the richness of my fresh-out-of-college-let's-find-free-stuff experiences, and learning to find more joy in the absence of finances. Without a little bit of poverty-like fun, you won't appreciate the moolah when it come's rolling your way.

And for you all that strongly disagree, who are living your life JUST to get the dollar, busting your ass in jobs that are of no interest to you, I bet you don't have a receipt for that "happiness" you got over there...