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


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Friday, August 21, 2009

It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday

We were friends
a long time ago...

laughin', rappin'...
chasin' girls...

obeyin' no laws,
except the one of caring.

Basketball days and high nights.

No tomorrows.

Unable to remember yesterday...
we live for today.


- Preach
(reading to Cochise)
Cooley High - 1975


I feel like Preach at the end of 'Cooley High'

I can't explain in writing why I feel this way, I know that I just do. My life has take this unexpected turn into the unknown and I'm having difficulty letting go of the current because it's the past. I'm not in great health but I'm getting back to optimum. That I can explain. I think.

Okay, I'll try here.

Back in my army days, if you lived in the barracks (which ain't nothing but a big-ass dorm for single soldiers and maybe a few folk that were a little too young to be out on their own - You could go off base and rent an apartment, but for some the trappings of having just enough space for yourself and free meals at the mess hall was too good to pass up) you not only had to maintain your own personal space but you had to clean the common areas and keep them spotless. At least once a month Sarge would call for a 'G.I. Party' which was a day in which you weren't at the library, out on a date or at the mall. The whole entire residency of the barracks was present and accounted in order to clean the place from top to bottom.

The barracks was always a place for presentation. One never knew when a command officer would show up for a surprise inspection. One would never know when they would show us just to say hello just to see how you were living, so when I stayed in the barracks I helped keep the place spotless (well, except for this one time in Korea... Another story). You could eat off the floors in that place and that's where the comparisons to how I feel right now begin.

The floors in the main areas and hallways were always clean and shiny. We would clean, strip, wax and buff the floors every week or so. After about two weeks, maybe three (if we had a field training exercise the floors would not get stripped, whoever stayed behind and cleaned the floors in our absence would put floor wax in a spray bottle and use the electric buffer to keep the shine going) if we were out there that long, there would be layers of floor wax there and we would have to use a cutting agent to strip the floors before re-cleaning them and laying down a new coat of wax. You could see in the edges where the floor met the wall and in the corners a darkening of the wax where dirt would accumulate. It took a long time to strip them floors, but in presentation and cleanliness it was well worth it.

I took pride in cleaning the floors in my section.
I just wish I would have remembered to do this internally.
Literally and figuratively.

I got out of the army at the end of 92/the beginning of 93 and I headed back home to Chicago. I had a girlfriend back there waiting and my family half-assed opened their arms to welcome me back. I had a friend from high school that was like a brother and other friends and acquaintances that were there for me to re-connect with and I did just that. I reconnected.

I met a handful of folks along the way and befriended some and kept others at arm's distance. I felt like I had support if I needed it and even though I lost a few folks along the way I worked and played within my support system and there were no complaints.

Being conscious about things was natural progression, and other than my friend from high school, my younger brother and a few folk I called friend there was no support in me growing, learning new things that would have taken me away from the hood and living on my own terms. My man from high school stuck with my fickle decisions to make music or not, and although we don't hang out as much these days him, his wife and family have my utmost respect for dealing with me. I think that most folk only know how to deal with folk that are just like them. Having an open mind (and I haven't had one all my life) and dealing with folk on their own terms weirds most folk out (see: Healthcare Reform in 2009 - any newspaper or news site), and they keep you at arms's distance only calling when they want something.

I dealt with that, but I also grew to like different things outside of what my geographic constraints would allow, so I started to travel and I liked it. I should say that I shedded a few pounds along the way in people that I couldn't actually explain why to myself they were still in my life. A lot of drama ensued from me ending a decade plus long relationship, to eliminating religion to changing my name and then moving to locales that gave me comfort and peaked my curiosity. It wasn't all successful and there was some damage left in some places. I burned bridges with a few and got burned by folk that either unintentionally or intentionally wanted to do so. These things left a lot of residue and built up like that wax on the floor in the barracks twenty years ago. I needed a powerful cutting agent to be able to cut thru the build up in order to emotionally start anew.

As that dirt in the corners and the floor's edge had built up exponentially, things began to weigh me down.

When I got out of the military back in the day I started to eat things that I did not consume while in service. I got big. I got slow. I got fat and in 1998 I damn near killed myself form the years of food residue pile up, high fructose corn syrup, alcohol and tobacco consumption. For a moment I heeded the call and got healthy, then I went back to hamburgers, chicken wings and beer and then I'd stop to get healthy again. I was channeling my inner Luther Vandross.


As a result of my actions regarding my lifestyle choices and health options, my heart is suffering.
As a result of my actions, intent and relationships from the past to current, my heart is suffering.


The ups and downs of my past lifestyle has introduced my body to atherosclerosis. The past couple of months I've been unable to sleep because when I lay down my legs from the knee down and my hands go numb. The hardening of my arteries and the difficulty of pumping the blood has made my heart weak. Now I can get things back to normal over time and I have been supplementing and changed my diet to accommodate this, but the agent I'm using to cut the wax build up off of my floors is powerful. I'm a little lethargic and am always chronically fatigued nowdays. Little by little it gives me less opportunity to get stuff done, but I'm okay, my body is catching up on all of that missed sleep. The herbicuticals give me pockets in which I can sleep without going in pain and or feeling numbness but those moments have given me time to think. (Like I have a choice in the matter).

The ups and downs of my life, my relationships and actions have introduced me to waking up from my 2 hour pockets of much needed rest to realize that life itself is fleeting. I realized that I put an emotional stake into friendships that were never actual. That I spent some of my time and effort in life unaware that life can leave my vessel at any moment. I lived for the day (which I'll still do in some aspects) but I never planned for tomorrow in other aspects. By my recent understanding that my life has value to me and knowing that I was just amusement and appeasement to others, I had a Cochise moment. A lot of the bullshit (and the people that brought said bullshit) died. A lot of meaningful things and relationships that meant something to me in the past died. Bad opportunities died. Good things with consequences that the old me would have appreciated also ceased.

So recently I wrote my poem, said it at the grave site and headed west leaving a lot of people, family and friends as well as posers, pretenders and bad opportunities behind. Making that drive was also a powerful cutting agent as well but...

Even though I'll miss certain aspects of Chicago...
My family and true friends...
Some great opportunities...

I gotta strengthen my heart.

Literally and figuratively.

I always cry when Cochise dies in that film but I know that Preach does move forward and will do well. I know that I will too. I also believe that you can come home again. I'm just hoping to have that opportunity to do just that after I get my act together. Whatever in my third act this turns out to be.


7 comments:

Gallis said...

I so needed to read this today. Been going through a similar thing myself. I don't know why, but I have such a sense of excitement about this phase for you. I think it will yield an abundance. Change is hard, particularly geographic ones, but at the same time, it's something that can teach you a lot. You're right, life is fleeting. The more life you get under your feet, the more you realize it. Make the best of what you have and take care of yourself. I've learned some hard lessons about that lately, so while I have the chance and we're both here on this earth, I want to say that although we've never met in person, talking to you online and reading your stuff has been of great comfort and knowledge to me and as silly as it sounds, I consider you a good friend.

One another note: the word verification for this comment is "wezin" [insert ironic glance here]

Bananas said...

Generally speaking the third act contains the resolution. Taking all the parts from the previous acts, putting them together, and coming up with a glorious ending.

And always remember, you can’t kill Superman in the end unless he saves the world. The Audience doesn’t like that.

You know what I’m sayin’ right?

Gallis said...

Well said Terry.

The Brown Blogger said...

Zesty:

It's hard and I feel like I still haven't found the words...

And I feel absolutely the same about our friendship.



Terry:

I need some Krypton DNA so I can rejuvinate under this beautiful sun so I could get a little Superman in me...

Big Mark 243 said...

(well, except for this one time in Korea... Another story)

Where ..? me and my SFC met in the R.O.K, and I have a younger sister doing her thing at Yongsan Post...

I think that you have lived a pretty good life, and now you have to make some decisions in you last act. Which choices are you going to make?

As far as your health goes, the discipline you show in that, will be what you display in other areas of your life. Don't think you bother at my journal, but that is something I steadfastly believe in, fitness.

It isn't for the vanity that I keep fit ... I can still use work! But because I can run so far and do it so often in any kind of weather condition, I also know that I can access the attitude to confront other difficulties in my day to day, and not only get thru them, but do so well and better than I did before.

Time to make that list and it really should be short. You health, your wife are one in the same. She needs to get on board to keeping you healthy, and with her on board, your relationship will become better.

Find a vocation that you can be satisfied and grow from. Do your best to achieve the most from it.

Uh, I am running out of advice! I think you know what you have to do ... maybe it is the doing it that has you down. Once you get engaged and the bell rings, you quit thinking about when the next bell will sound to end the round, but you will get about to winning the fight!!

Hope that made sense. I tried!!

L&R
Mark

Anonymous said...

Being as how my life experience is very limited I will offer only a small piece of advice" Whatever move you make, do it with a sense of purpose and urgency

Anonymous said...

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