We’re back with another, long time installment to #RhythmandBluesVarietyHour. This was one of the early ones, written about someone who shall not be named way back in our young and dumb years.Continue reading “#RhythmandBluesVariety Hour Vol. 7 – Unrequited”
I’ve been writing for 20 years.
I always knew I wanted writing to be involved in my life, but up until high school, I didn’t believe that I would actually make a career out of it because becoming a successful writer, especially back when I first considering it was a bit difficult.* So I always had a “proper” career in mind (pediatrician, orthopedic surgeon, psychologist), but, I was a writer.
I am a writer.
Even after deciding to really do it and putting the medical stuff aside*, I would still also say, I want to be a writer instead of saying I am a writer, because for the longest time I believed that to be a writer, I had to be published by a big publishing house, book on the New York Times best sellers list and thousands or even millions of people reading your work.
As long as I put pen to paper or type on a keyboard, I am a writer.
With that being said, when it comes to my fiction work, because fiction is what I want to write, I haven’t placed myself in one category and I’m not going to because there are a variety of stories I want to tell, and have been wanting to tell for the last 20 years.
However, that is where we are now. I came up with a lot of my ideas when I was in middle school, high school and college, and many of these ideas have evolved and mutated beyond what they initally were, but, even with their evolution, now being 31 years old, do I still want to tell these stories? Is my constant shifting and changing of a lot of these stories due to growing older, gaining more experience and living life a bit more as a self-sufficient** adult instead of a dependant child or is it now because I no longer can relate to the story?
What kind of stories do I want to tell? I still lean on the old ideas because deep in my heart I still believe in them, but do I still want to tell those stories? On the flip side, I am at a point in my life where coming up with new stories to tell has stagnanted a bit because my life admittedly is a bit stagnant. I work jobs that don’t really stimulate my creative muscles, my current position keeps me in my house so I’m not getting out as much as I would working in another location*** and I’m not really doing anything – no new friends, no parties, not of the stuff that I would occasionally**** do back home. I’m inside, tending to plants, eating, playing video games, watching YouTube and simply existing. Even on the rare occasions I get out, I’m not exposed to novel things and it’s very quick and easy for me to get back into a rut.
So what kind of stories do I want to tell? Do I still want to do space epics? A fictionalized version of the final years of my 20s leading into my washed 30s? Sinister neighbors and family members? Or do I want to tell stories about what I’m going through currently with being a bit older, navigating life in a new city away from my family and friends, working another job that drains me of vitality?
Time will tell, I suppose. I recently pulled out all of my old handwritten works to look back through some of them. I can definitely evolve some of those works. The stories still have power and potential. Maybe this is more about getting out of this extended rut than anything. That might prove a bit harder now because it isn’t just me. I have to find the stories again.
*I am also prone to taking the easy way out and choosing the path of least resistance. I am working on that.
**As self-sufficient as one can be while living with their parents rent free.
***My car also said fuck you for leaving your check engine light on for two years. I’m in the market for a new one so I can at least go to the library.
****I was a homebody at home. I still had options. Here, not so much. In addition to it being a smaller city, from what my fiance has told me, they shoot a lot around here. The news confirms this.
Featured photo by Reetha Ferguson, give her a follow on Instagram.
You know, I really dislike having a fucking job.
I like making money, but I dislike having a fucking job.
I say that because it’s fucking December and my last post was in February and I had this whole plan to be posting at least once a month this year and yet here the hell we are. And that is because in February, I got a job, a temporary job, but a job none the less, and said job sapped the energy I was going to use to write.
Then that job ended in June and by then, I didn’t want to think about doing anything and then I got a permanent job that started in September, a job where I’m talking to people all damn day and my energy is yet again being taken up by a fucking job.
As much as I dislike having a job, I also dislike not having a job too.
Of course, it’s very easy to blame the job, but I have to take some responsibility myself, blah blah blah, lack of discipline, lack of a stronger work ethic, I just want to zone out in front of YouTube and Twitter all day.
I don’t know what this has to do with anything.
Oh yeah, so in between February and now, and it’s been a year since I’ve written this post, I realized that I’ve actually got what I wanted…what I wanted 10+ years ago.
Manifestation can be a slow process. You can ask God or the Universe for some shit and they hear you, they totally hear you, they just might not get it to you right away, and that could be because you’re not ready for it, and they knew I wasn’t ready for the shit I wanted back then.
I asked to be away from my upbringing. I have gotten away from my upbringing.
I asked for quiet. I have gotten quiet.
I asked for my depression to at least be lifted more than draped on my shoulders, and I don’t wear it as much as I have in the past.
It’s like once I was granted these things, everything else has slowly fallen into place and will continue to do so.
So I still don’t know what I want to do, but I do know that when I figure it out, it will come.
The next decade is looking bright.
For a while, I struggled with whether or not I should do like so many other creators and post a link to a PayPal or CashApp or Patreon link so that the people who read this site could send me money in support of the work that I do. I’ll admit that is was mostly pride that made me feel like to do so would cheapen the work and make me look like I’m begging for charity.
I have pushed my pride aside and recently signed up with Ko-fi. Their benefits seem to work more in line with how I work, unlike Patreon and if you would ever like to support the Bored Ambition team in any way shape or form, or just like the work that is done here, you can click here or click on the link in the left footer of the site to buy me a coffee.
I thank you very much in advance if you do deceide to donate. I also thank and appreciate all those who have stuck with the blog since we’ve been live, through the numerous changes, mental shifts
and breakdowns and rebranding. I’ve often thought about giving up this site, but you never know who might be reading and could really use the words that I type here. So again, I thank you all.
I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like them because I don’t keep them and I don’t keep them because the pressure to make and keep them becomes too much and I end up saying fuck it at least a week into the new year. The act of making resolutions for me is mostly for show, to appear to be like other human beings, but I gave that up for Lent* one year and never looked back.
So I came into this year the same way I’ve come into the past five or six or seven years – with a renewed sense of optimism for what the days might bring, but with no plan on how to be a better or different person or to adjust my lot in life. I’m the living Kermit meme.
I might have to change that though.
Wait, let’s let the lightning strike and the thunder rumble and finish getting your chuckles out.
Don’t worry, I’m not making resolutions, because again, there’s just a bit too much pressure with trying to achieve them, especially if you put a timeframe on it like I am prone to do. But there are old habits that I need to break, old patterns of behavior that once again I need to reexamine how they fit into my life at this point in time (spoiler alert: they fucking don’t).
Pop culture wise, 2018 has been Black as fuck.
I’m sure we’ve had Blacker years, but I bet that 2018 will rank highly among them. Music was good, strides were made in television, and the movies? LAWWWWWDD THE MOVIES!!!! If we weren’t the central focus of the narrative, we were definitely up in that bitch somewhere.
The beautiful thing about this Black Entertainment renaissance is that it causes discussion. People from all different walks of Black life gather in spaces both private and public to discuss their thoughts and feelings on the art they just witnessed, engage in fierce debate about whether or not something is a classic just 24 hours removed from release, or get upon their contrarian high horse to shit on anyone who dared like this mega-popular event and berate them for being sheep. It’s wonderful because it can be fun, and it can be downright annoying, or you could occupy that space in the middle. General indifference is an option as well.
While I’m glad that there is discourse about art, especially when it comes to discussion about those -isms that really keep us all from enjoying life to its fullest – necessary discussion that needs to be had – somethings don’t require, aren’t ready for and sometimes shouldn’t be given extensive critical thought. Some of these things are as shallow as a kiddie pool, some of these things are incomplete and others have been analyzed to death and can’t offer us new insights into ourselves. Thinkpieces and theories have become a staple of online discourse and I won’t lie and say that I don’t enjoy reading or composing them occasionally, but it can be a bit much.
The highly anticipated trailer for Oscar winning writer-director-comedian Jordan Peele’s follow up to 2016 tour de force Get Out premiered in the predawn Christmas morning. Us is a family film, if your family is getting chased and lit up by dopplegangers of themselves. Set to an eerie remix of, of all things, the Luniz’s seminal work “I Got 5 On It”, the trailer is an exercise in creepy.
I was legit creeped out watching that trailer.
Any way, once it was over, as I anticipated, the thinkpieces would come about before midday. You have a Black family (a dark-skinned Black family at that) vacationing in Northern California, they look affluent enough, the husband wears Howard University sweatshirts, the teach their kids the classics and the mother keeps a close, keen eye on her children. Yes, a great shout rose from the collective consciousness of the Woke and this idyllic view of Black family life being tormented by something other than white people.
What we got made me take a nap. When I awoke from that nap, the realization of what I had seen loaded into my brain and I sat up, exclaiming, “I know kung fu!” I don’t, but you get the point. I learned that “I Got 5 On It” wasn’t just a song about going “half on a sack” of some Indo’ weed, but a call from the ancestors to always offer our brothers and sisters in the struggle the five fingers of our hand to get ahead in this racist American society, something something, Five Percenters something something. That the film is a revenge plot on the talented tenth and suburban Blacks (probably the very people I am ranting about). That Jordan Peele is automatically unqualified to give us much of the discourse he’s given us with this trailer and Get Out because he’s a seemingly unproblematic biracial Black claiming man married to a seemingly unproblematic white woman (I ain’t dug into her background nor do I care to).
Point is, there is only so much that we can get from a two and a half minute trailer, combined with what the director himself has said the themes of the film are. I’m going to take his lead on this until I actually see a final cut of the film.
Us and Black-specific culture isn’t the only instance of this though, but it is the freshest. We get this type of speculation with nerds a lot as well. I saw so many thinkpieces and theories popping up with the drop of the Avengers: Endgame teaser that my eyes rolled into the back of my head and I had to get knocked silly to get them straight again. “Tony said ‘Rescue’! Pepper Potts is going to save him!”, uh uh, “Ant Man is a Skrull, there’s no way he got out the Quantum Realm!”, uh uh, “It’s in the past!” I saw someone break down the reveal of the movie’s title at the end of the teaser, indicating that the stylization and fonts used were indicative of certain events in the past MCU (the snap, the Infinity Stones, etc.). I need another nap thinking about it.
Look, I’ll admit that this is all deeply personal. I like to be told things. I did all my critical thinking in high school and college and when I try to apply much of it to everyday life I end up being disappointed or looking like a fool critically thinking about why Chik-fil-A breakfast is the GOAT fast food breakfast (their biscuits taste real). So when I see people engaging in a two and a half minute trailer, I feel a bit guilty that I’m not engaging in a two and a half minute trailer outside of, “Holy shit, this looks interesting, I will wait for it to come out.” Like me not engaging it further is a waste of my education and not just me wanting to be taken on a journey without expectations.
Then I remember the pretentiousness of a lot of these people. Don’t get me wrong, I can do pretentious. These people are on a whole different level with it, and that turns me off from trying to be one of them. None of the markers that these people celebrate – including thinkpiecing media to death – makes them that important. The rest of us who don’t want to engage in the pretentiousness aren’t any lesser for it either.
In conclusion (wink, wink), Black Entertainment has had a banner year in 2018, and looks to be making strides well into the ‘19 and the 2020. While discussion about Black art (as well as any other art) can be beneficial, sometimes it is taken too damn far for the sake of being taken too damn far.
Stop sacrificing because feeling like you need to, for the validity of chossing the mature thing. The survival thing. The “adult” thing [sic].Iron Lion Jackson
As we are prone to do, a good friend and I were having a conversation about my various neuroses. He told me that I am carrying a lot of guilt and shame that I needed to let go of.
Of course, he was right. I just wasn’t sure of what I felt guilty about (or maybe I forgot, I mean, I did smoke weed for six years).
Today, after chucking up the deuces to another crappy situation, and I struggled with my fiancé to justify why I should leave it, it dawned on me what I felt guilty about.
I felt guilty about wanting something else for myself, and that something else is this writing life. I should be making my bloodline proud and going after “a good job” with benefits, weekends off and PTO and this passion is something I should do on the side.
The problem with me is that when I have a job, I give it as much as I can (I won’t lie and say 100%, but at best I give a good 95%) and giving as much as I can leaves me feeling quite drained, devoid of the mental and even spiritual energy that I need to write. If I don’t have life in me, how can I give life to my characters?
And I feel guilty for that. I feel shame at my perception that I’ve let people down because I was supposed to be “the one.” Those are expectations I put on myself however. My parents and surviving grandparents will tell you that they’re extremely proud that I made it through college. My siblings will say similar things. Yet I feel shame when I quit a job, or guilt for just wanting to stay at home, develop a good, solid routine, and write for a couple of hours a day while taking care of my domicile.
I feel guilty and ashamed that I don’t want to constantly chase money. Money is the means to an end. The end can be comfort, a vacation, a new house, rose gold dining plates, a sex doll, whatever. I can’t help but feel like people think that money is the end though.
Yet, I know how I feel working at places that don’t move me and I’m tired of it.
Part of the master plan for 2019 involves me moving past this guilt and shame, especially since I’ve identified it (or remembered what it was).
In conclusion, guilt and shame are a hell of a set of feelings to experience, because in the end, especially if you’re anything like me, they will leave you in a vicious cycle, and I know all about vicious cycles. As my friend recently reminded me, I am living for myself and myself only and there is no need for me to make myself a “martyr for what”. That’s just going to leave me stuck, and I’m not trying to be stuck.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. – Abraham Lincoln
You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. – Marcus Aurelius
It’s finally the end of 2018 and a few days before my 30th birthday, and as many of my ilk – the goal oriented yet jaded, underemployed super millenials- have done or are in the process of doing, I have devised my master plan for 2019, the list of hopefully attainable goals that I will achieve within the upcoming 365 days. Because I am such believer in sharing is caring, I am going to outline to you all what exactly those goals all, so that maybe you, my audience, can keep me accountable, because remember, these goals affect the trajectory that this site will go in.
Without further ado: