Version 2.0

Culture, healing, politics and bullshit - Not necessarily in that order

The general, socio-political and very personal rantings and ravings of a hip hop head from the hood hustling for change... Of himself.

You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as acquiescence.
—Miguel de Unamuno


Monday, June 11, 2007

Feeling Myself, And Not In That Manner...

When was the last time you really 'felt' yourself?

What I'm asking is, when was the last time you really felt good about everything? Like all your circuitry was functioning at optimal capacity and there wasn't some sort of spiritual breach or mental sag in your daily ya dig, you know... When was the last time you felt like you were on point?

Hell, it's been so long for me that I really cannot remember.

Now that's not a bad thing, but I look at what I have left and see that although my window is shorter in doing things that are impactful, the appreciation of accomplishment is that much more pertinent to my overall basket of happy. What I'm saying is that it would be a large favor from the universe to have me live more years than I have already, so time for me is short if I wanna get some real stuff (well, to me at least) done.

Now I'm satisfied with what has happened so far, and my laundry list of complaints are probably like everyone else's, but I know that I have more inside that I can pass on and I know that there is more for me out there somewhere all wrapped in a bow, just waiting for me to stumble across and claim.

I don't know if that is a person, a place or a thing.

Damn... I just realized that I just described a noun when I typed it. I hope it's that simple.

Oh! I remember the last time in my life where everything clicked and seemed perfect:

It was a few days before Thanksgiving back in 1991. I was in the Army living stationed at Camp Casey which is in Tondecheon, South Korea. I had just gotten a promotion and I was living in a double room in the barracks with no roommate. I was an Intelligence Analyst working in battalion headquarters processing security clearances and dispensing communications security to the soldiers in the Signal Unit I served in. It was a cushy job. I had my own office and workspace and was left alone with my paperwork and radio.

Let me set things up...

I was in impeccable shape mentally, especially physically. I'm talking bodyfat at 12 percent and hitting my two mile run right at 14 minutes. I was putting down 3 to 5 books a week and reading damn near every magazine at the PX because I was so homesick. Das Efx was the rap kids on the block and Gerald LeVert was telling us about his private line. On weekends I would go down to Seoul and get on the trains and busses. I would just lose myself in Korean culture and get lost in their life and customs.

I was writing my whole family and calling my girl weekly, who was doing her thing at Bradley U. I paid every bill on time and had no outstanding debt. I was buying 20 to 30 records a week and practicing my cuts on these cheap-ass belt driven turntables, practicing my on-air radio skills because I knew I was going to be a radio and club DJ when I got out. I had also took enough classes and Central Texas College (conveniently located on EVERY Army post) to have earned my associates and enough Army correspondence courses to gain another promotion in 90 days after getting my most recent one. I was a machine, y'all.

Sensible diet, 5 miles every morning, chill-ass job, hobbies, the excitement of living overseas, active social life with the cats in the barracks and this cute-ass Korean chick named Song and her American infatuated sorors. Something about them fit ass military brothers... My Jeans West slacks fresh from the US were hot to def and I was rocking them thick soled shoes with the metal on the toes, accesorizing it with the floral print shirts that was rocking 2 for $22 and the fold over belts with the metal tips that made the early 90's hot. I could've been a dancer on Nia Peeples' Party Machine.

I was that fly.

I was on top of my game, and things couldn't be better. I had the support of my family, being in the military was a good thing and I had healthy, stress-free relationships with everyone I called friend. Even my adversaries were in the pocket. I knew where they stood and they I. I believe athletes call it being in the zone. You know, when the ball looks to be the size of a head of lettuce for a baseball player , or the hoop seems eight feet wide to a basketball player. Nothing was out of place, all of my parts worked perfectly and nothing could possibly go wrong for my young, gifted, upwardly mobile military ass twenty-six thousand miles from home.

Until I got a phone call.

Like I said, it was right before turkey day and I was ready to celebrate with the cats in my unit seeing as I couldn't get home to do it. I remember it was cool out side and not yet winter. No coats or anything, the temperature was in the 60's, perfect for heading into December. I had a great day at the office and worked out that evening. I bought a mink blanket at this market not far from the base and I had taken a liking to sleeping under it with my windows open. My ritual at that time was to just chill and think out my day in the dark right before sleeping and I did that usually listening to Anita or Sade. This night was Anita. I was in my bed, lights out under the blanket feeling this beautiful breeze on my face when the phone jolted me out of my meditative state. It was about 12:30 and I was reviewing my state of being. I was at my calmest and I was thinking at that moment how blessed I am to be in this place at this time. It was no deal to get up and answer the phone, everything was perfect and although no one ever called me after 11pm or so, this had to be something extra special waiting for me on the other end of that line. What more could the universe give me? I was already at my happiest. Any more blessings would be blessed overkill.

So I hear the voice of my first seargent (a Boricua cat, instant bond... tanto como mi parte posteriora de la familia casera) and he had tears in his cracked voice. My grandfather had died. He spoke with my mother and it was already arranged for me to hit a 6am plane to Chicago to make it there. From what he didn't tell me I knew that things were falling apart in Chicago. Although the military doesn't let folks go home for funerals of family outside of immediate, my grand parents were my legal guardians because moms was a career student when I was a kid. She had given birth to three before she was able to vote, and the success of my entire family depended on her getting an education because she was the oldest. Since my granny grands were legally my parents, I got a chance to go home.

It wasn't my grandfather's death that changed my life. It wasn't the fact that my grandmother, aunt and I got into horrible car accident the night of the funeral. It wasn't the fact that now my grandfather's wife, who was now in the hospital with a broken neck wearing a halo would die six months to the day (she healed from the neck injury, but died of a broken heart. Forty years is a long time) and that visit was the last time I would see her alive, It was the two visits I made from Korea, one to bury Pops, the other to bury Mamma that actually changed up my flow.

It was the energy of the survivors that changed me.

Although I went back to Korea to finish my tour, I went back the first time a little twisted from the experience, the second even more effed up and it wasn't because my beloved passed away. I learned that I became a product of my environment. The energy in Chicago hasn't been right since that time, and I exited the military at the end of 1992 and came back to even more dysfunction. I sopped it up like a sponge and applied all of the effed up methods, ways and means of my family and others. I didn't realize I was replaying all of the alcoholism, verbal abuse and uncaring ways I learned from my environment until I had broken up with my third long-time girlfriend broke, unmarried and childless with nothing tangible spiritually to take away from any of my situations. My people aren't bad people, some of em' just aren't good examples to follow. Some other's blueprints are askew for you, ya' dig?

When I left home for the military, I had to figure things out for myself and although my methods were questionable, they were effective for me. I gave all of that up when I got out because I thought I should learn and emulate from folks that had been in the game longer than I. I shoulda' stuck to my own game plan.

And you wonder why I'm living in Houston right now?

I'm trying to feel myself again. Remember what that felt like?


Luke Cage said...

INCREDIBLE!!!! Not just the prose, but also the time of year. For me Thanksgiving has taken on an entire new meaning. Imagine, everything going just as good as yours was man. Life was just FANTASTIC. I had a great woman in my life (we were probably going to be married within a year from that date), debt??? What was debt???! No car notes, no outstanding credit card balances, no strife, no b.s. and yes, even Hip Hop was great to listen to.

But on that Thanksgiving night in '92, there was the great accident. My lady died, I went into a tailspin for a short moment and then met the woman that is my current wife.

One could not have happened without the other, but what an incredible irony. One door closes, and another opens up for a new beginning. Cause and effect? Who knows? I do remember what that felt like.. now I'm living what it feels like, NOW.

It is What It Is... said...

Great Post...first time by...Love the Blog...I'm a regular now. lol


Rose said...

Wow Hassan! From your writing yeah I can tell you were living high up there, feeling good and stuff but I know that things happen for a reason and that feeling you felt then will return. Sometimes we have to work a little hard to get it back - but I believe in faith, and positive thinking too. Wow again this was a great post!

Gallis said...

You know something? You are amazing and brave and I'm so glad I found your blog.

Anonymous said...

Hey luv....I read this post this afternoon while at work and I swear I couldn't focus anymore because I was trying to think of that moment for me. I was trying to remember a time when I was feeling myself like you described and what life changing moment occurred to change it. I can't nail one single moment down. I can think of several short periods of time when I think I can identify with what you're saying but not a time in my life. I'm still meditating on this one.

T. S. Snowden said...

Great Question! It made me think about the last time I felt like I was doing the damn thang just right! I am on my way there again right now! Great post

Brotha Buck said...

Im on the right track now. But whenever I think things are going great, I want more, and then things dont seem so great any longer

Anonymous said...

WOW WOW...Hmmmm you was living the good life...I mean the GOOD LIFE....360 good life....All things come to an end but I haven't actually thought about this in the capacity that you explained which has my wheels turning....Hmmmm when I think back I was feeling myself several months ago last year...ALL was was good...stress wasn null and void.....and most of all I was good!!

Incredible Post

Lola Gets said...

I wasnt living the good life -life was ok for me- but Thanksgiving too on a new meaning for me, also in 1992. I was a senior in college, and I was driving back down to DC for the Thanksgiving holiday. I was asleep in the car when it was hit by a tractor trailer. I spent the next 3 months in the hospital and the next year trying to regain my life.

Soon after that, I felt like I was on top of my game, only to lose it, then regain it, then lose it again, lol. Right now, Im just trying to get back again.


Little Brown Girl said...

Everytime I come here I am humbled. I can relate to this post on a number of levels. I remember the last time my life was closest to perfect. It was 1994, April to be exact. My sister and I were planning to go to Freaknic and ended up getting into a major argument the night before. I bounced with my friends and she with hers instead of going together. I figured (as usual) we'd make up whenever we felt like it. She was killed in a car accident on the way down. Life for me has never been quite as good since she left. The following year my boyfriend of 9 years was murder during his Sr. year at Morehouse see the pattern? Today I am trying to figure out how to make love work when the things I've loved most in my life are still so much a part of me and yet not here to take the walk with me. Everyday is a struggle and I miss the life I had when I had love...real love. My sister was my Best Friend and my Man...well he was the only man who ever really knew how to love me without condition.

Shyt is flawed no matter how you look at it so we do the best we can with what we have...chasing after that familiar but now distant feeling of how good life USE TO BE!

aquababie said...

this past year has been the turnaround for me. last year was basically a shitty year. i fell into a depression and for about a year, i was a wreck. i ruined a good relationship. however my bf, who has suffered with depression himself was understanding of my plight. i sent him away twice and he held on.

i cut folk out of my life that didn't deserve it. this year i'm coming out on the other side.

i wanna say thanks to all yall sharing your stories in the comments :)

The Brown Blogger said...

And I wanna thank all of y'all as well. It lets all of us know that we are not alone in our situations, although sometimes it feels like we are.

Thank You.
Thank You.
Thank You.

DivineLavender said...

I remember my Zone.

I am not in one now....not the same time of hitting my strive Zone. Somewhere I sit quiet and even love the struggle in a strange way. Next time I am in the "Zone", I will appreciate it more and soak it up because I know its for a time.

I just feel right now...that is all I have....right now. I try not to live to far in the past or dream too much about the future...when all I have it now.

Right now, I am here with you. Got it?

Bananas said...

Well, perhaps it is true then. You really can't go home agian.

Great peace My Man, and peace be with you.

Anonymous said...

Subhanallah, this post wiped me out. My Grandmother died of a broken heart too shortly after the death of my grandfather. I am from Chicago and I now live in Saudi. I love Chicago, but it can be toxic. I'm glad you are doing what you have to do.

We are the same age, what school did you go to? I went to Lindblom (C'O 89) but hung out more at Kenwood (my brother went there).

The Brown Blogger said...

Wow UA, we have a lot in common, cousin was at Lindblom with ya' (c/o 89') and there's probably about one degree of seperation between us.

Email me, open up a door...

princessdominique said...

I missed your blog :) and I think I felt more optimal last summer than this, but then again I just relocated so I'm still getting the feel of things and summer really just started.

Paula D. said...

I remember my 'perfect time' 7 years ago before my dad died. Life has had a void ever since. Here I am 7 years later & am feeling back on top again :-)
Great post!

Aly Cat 121 said...

dayum, not the silver toed shoes? Why I had me a pair of them mugs too? *chuckle to self*

I don't think my zone came, if that's what you can call it, until I got into my 30's and started to see the world with a fresh pair of eyes. And I realized all the sh*t that I thought was important and that I should carry with me for life, really wasn't important at all and it was okay to let sh*t go and be new and whole and who you are truly meant to be from the inside out.