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Fear…and other surly irascible shit…

 I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. ~Rosa Parks

See, here’s the thing…fear is a bitch in heels.

It’s the one intangible force that can stop any and everything it chooses, better whatever thing chooses it. For a while, I chose fear because it was easier to own that, than to own responsibility, obligation, moral validity, values, humanity, and any other adjectives that fits the synonymic phrase. I fancied myself for many years, a pretty brave girl—one would have to be to still dream when her dreams should’ve been deferred—but it turns out that I wasn’t as brave as I thought I was.

The lack of bravery came in the form of caution.

I wanted to be cautious not to overstep boundaries, not to do something that would rub the grain, because being raised in a household that celebrated realism and not romanticism that’s what I was told…well, at best, led to believe. There was a path that one followed; grow up, graduate high school, off to college—graduate, get a job in the majored field, find a respectable husband, get married, have kids, live stably.

That was the formula.

I didn’t follow it per se, but I put forth good effort.

And that was the rub.

At every turn I failed; sometimes miserably, sometimes successfully.

It wasn’t until recently that realized that I kept on with my recidivist-like antics because I wanted to, I sincerely wanted to swim with the current, but there was a part of me that just couldn’t.

It didn’t feel right.

It wasn’t who I was.

But, I didn’t act on the feeling, I acted on fear. Fear was what kept me trying to do what “they” said and trying to do what was “right” and “good” but it was to no avail.

The current called, I answered, and have been struggling to stay afloat every since…and I’m completely freaking happy.

As Ms. Parks, stated, “Once one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear, knowing what must be done does away with fear.” So true, Ms. Parks. So true.

There was a reason that reading made me happy, there was a reason that my English and Lit classes were my favorites and it had nothing to do with wanting to teach it.

It’s the reason that when I hear a new word, I get tingles.

It’s the reason that I listen to people’s conversations and hope to turn them into a story.

It’s the reason that people intrigue me, not in the wanting to be friends sort of way, in the you’d make a good character sort of way.

The reasons why I idolize, Tony Morrison, Jamaica Kincaid, Rochelle Alers, Brenda Jackson, Darrien Lee, Sylvia Plath, Ralph Ellison, Ernest Hemmingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Sandra Cisneros, to name just a few—there’s so many more—but it’s a reason for this, and the reason is, the written word. It’s sexy, it’s provocative, it’s erotic, it’s nurturing, it’s a feeling, it’s a untouchable emotion that only others like me could identify with, it’s the reasons, that I just couldn’t follow the rules.

And for the first time in…ever, I’m okay with that and I’m not afraid.

I’ve spent too much time wondering how the mentioned iconic authors spent their time before writing, while writing, after righting, and never once, NEVER ONCE, had I imagined that they spent it in fear. Perhaps there was a tinge of something that every author I’m sure gets when they send a new work out into creation, or perhaps there was a tinge of something before they were published wordsmiths, but I can’t imagine for a second it was fear. And if it was, then that’s the type of scared I’d like to be. That scared led to great stories, like The Bluest Eye, Girl, Sweet Dreams, Whispered Promises, Been There, Done That, The Bell Jar, The Invisible Man, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, Dust Tracks on a Road, and The Family of Little Feet. These author’s and stories have been published, sold, viewed, and reviewed by millions and yet that’s not the reason that I idolize them, or the reason that I have to be who I am,  it’s because these stories have stayed with me and I haven’t been able to leave them. They mélange of authors have published many more, but these stories made me want to be in the world they created.

In The Bluest Eye, I identified. I never wanted a baby doll for the sake of having a baby doll, I wanted one because apparently that’s what I was suppose to want. I envied the protagonist for having the courage to feel what she wanted and not what she thought she was supposed to.

In Sweet Dreams, I wanted to leave my thoughts/dreams in a journal, in a cab, and have someone pick them up and want me because of them…oh yeah and I completely immersed myself into learning the Garifuna language— like the heroine, oh and planning a trip to Belize. In Whispered Promises, I wanted my knight in shining armor to be gruff and tough but tender like the Hero. Too, I love the name Dexter and I can’t shake it.

In Been There, Done That, I wanted to believe that life gave you do overs even when in the first go ‘round you got it right. Because of Mrs. Lee, I do believe that.

The Bell Jar showed me the emotional inside of a young woman coming of age, when at the time of reading this tale, I was coming of age as well. My parables don’t compare to hers, but it was refreshing to have the ability to understand. Though Ms. Plath is no longer with us, I certainly appreciated the work.

The Invisible Man, made me laugh…wait before you judge me, I meant the first chapter of the book, known as the Battle Royal made me laugh. The reason being was because I felt like an idiot for having such an audacity to be afraid when there were people of yesteryear that looked like me that faced adversity far worse than “To write or not to write,” and there I was at the time deciding what type of career I wanted.

I chose wrong then, but thanks to the like of Girl, by Jamaica Kincaid, I’ve made the turnaround. In that short story/poem, it was there that I learned to be the woman that I was going to become, anyway.

In The Short Secret Life of Francis Macomber, I laughed as well, the stupidity of Mrs. Macomber and Francis was overwhelming, but the lesson was ridiculously great. I won’t bore you with what I learned, because Hemmingway is definitely a topic for debate. There are several things that you could take away from the tale and perhaps on another post, we’ll delve into it, but for now, you can think of what you’d like to say when I present the court with MY truths.

In Ms. Hurston’s, Dust Track on a Road, I was for the first time aware that I should be proud to be colored. Black. But not downtrodden because of it.  Not that I was ashamed or down before, but until that tale, I hadn’t fully embraced it, now, I’m too busy sharpening my oyster’s knife and I’m so very thankful for the idea brought to me care of this wonderful work.

And in The Family of Little Feet, I understood all too well what those high heels meant to the little women in the story and I identify all too well of just what those high heels propels us—women—to do in life. <That’ll be up for debate a little later.

So you see, these stories did something to me personally, touched something inside of me and hasn’t let go and that’s why I can’t, I can no longer allow fear to keep her herculean-like strong hold on me. I need with a vengeance that rivals the neediest to be in that number, not because of the success, not because of the fame, not because of the money, but because I have stories to tell, and I’m proud to say that I’m no longer afraid to open my mouth.

I now own the responsibility and obligation that I have to inform my little one and ones to come that it’s okay to do what you REALLY want to do.

I now have moral validity and values that life has given me, and with that, I’m able to relay to you real characters that are well aware of the human process…I hope.

Until then…

Vive Sine Paenitentia

Res Ipsa Loquitur

~Uncaught Recidivist

As for the other shit:

  1. What the hell is going on in the world…Lena Horne is dead? Seriously, these old cats are dying left and right…RIP Mrs. Horne, I absolutely adored your work and my favorite until this very day is “Stormy Weather” listened to it with my grandmother (RIP baby doll)

My favorite quote by Mrs. Horne: “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

    2.    What the hell else is going on the world…Bus Driver’s letting kids duke it out in the yard of her house.  

            This whole earth is going to pot!

 

 

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Ersatz Apathy…and other shit I did wrong!

The thing is…is that there are a lot of things that I just don’t give a damn about. Two examples of such would be:

How much your house costs?
How much your clothes costs?

In other words, superficiality isn’t one of my strongest points. I could wholeheartedly give a damn about what you have and how you got it. All I care about is if I want it and what I need to do to get it? I don’t covet my neighbors lives or things or ideas, I do however, want to know what made you this way? No, I’m not a Philosopher, Anthropologist, or Culturist for that matter, I fancy myself a Writer, but then, doesn’t half of the world? Whatever, that’s their shit. Unlike the halves that claim to be infected with the idea to create, I actually have the damned disease.

I can’t not write.

There’s not a day that goes by that I can’t create something via the written or spoken word. I have to tell a story aloud or via blinking cursor on a blank screen. I don’t know how to live without having the ability to create another world in which I chose to live. My entire adult life (thus far) has been plagued with a war in which my sane self has taken a complete drubbing. I feel often times very Janie May Crawford in Their Eyes Are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston like, you know yearning to be free, but not sure how to get there and stumbling upon it, one mistake at a time. As a matter of fact, that aptly describes my adulthood. At my day job(s), I’m most of the time so unhappy because I find/found myself thinking that I shouldn’t be here, I should be writing. I closed off friendships because all writers know that idle time is our damn playground.

We live for that shit.

We love it.

More so, MORE SO, when we have a character, when we have an idea, it must get out. It most certainly cannot stay within the confines of our mind. There have been characters inside of me that have ruined my damned life. No, I don’t have schizophrenia, but seriously, sometimes there’s a story that just has to be told, and someone has just got to listen to it. And I refused outings; I refused to speak with anyone until they’ve heard what I had to say. I know, it’s a sickness, but didn’t I mention that I had it bad.

It’s not joke.

And it’s definitely more than just a notion.

I fought it. I fought it for years, thinking that as an only child, my imagination was just very over active and that, eventually I would just get over it. I feigned indifference when reading a book and coming up with the sequel to the damned thing before the author. Not in the literal sense, but I spent time, too much time, thinking of ways that someone else’s characters could live on forever. I wanted to give them another story, I gave them a family, I gave them kids, I gave them more hardships, and then one day I got mad.

I got angry stinking mad.

Why?

Well cool your boots, I’m getting there…I was angry because I spent time dreaming up things for someone else’s character and no time focusing on my own.

So, I started.

And then I couldn’t stop.
Today, here I sit with approximately eight and half (I’m still working on this last one) completed manuscripts (rough drafts), that have not been edited or shopped around, because up until about a paragraph ago, I never considered myself a writer. I was too afraid to.
Fear, that pretentious bitch, I won’t allow her to get to me again. But she had me for a while. A good long while too. I wanted and prayed to be normal, you know, the type that liked the nine-to-five gig, the type that didn’t have to sit up all night until the thought was complete, the type that didn’t see a person and wonder what his/her story was, and if you couldn’t figure it out, you’d make it up.

I didn’t want to be that type.

You know the type that is afraid to switch to android-like phones, because with her Blackberry she could open-up a word document and allow her thoughts to flow freely without having to ensure to push the right touch screen button. The type that in the wee hours of the morning and night had finally shut down her laptop but picked up said blackberry when in the bed because the short walk from the computer to the bed had offered her an idea of how this character must’ve felt when finally laying down for the night. No, sir or ma’am, I didn’t want to be the type.

Thus the faux apathy.

I tried to ignore it, I tried to fight it, but I knew I couldn’t. Because while working on some important project or another within in my “Day Job” I knew that the feeling of hate that I had towards said project or another wasn’t normal. But what was normal, what felt right, what felt real was the honesty in which I knew to be a truth that nothing in this world could shake and that is…I’m a damned writer. LITERALLY!

Damned you ask?

Yes, damned. Damned, because with this comes a great responsibility and granted I’ve kicked fear’s ass to the curb, I have yet to have conquered anxiety, thus the finished unrevised, unedited, unshopped manuscripts. Baby steps is what I’m taking. I’ve made a vow to go back and start the revision process and the goal is to by the end of the summer to look for a literary agent that believes in my work just as much as I do, for now however, I’ll blog. I’ll let you all find pleasure and humor in my misery and I’ll be okay with that for the time being…unless you’d like to share yours. As you know, we all love a good story and I’d love to know that I’m not the only one out here that feels that way. Please…say, “It ain’t so!”

Cheers!

Res Ipsa Loquitur
~Uncaught Recidivist