09 March 2010

"And that's what I've been looking for...the bridge from then to now"

Unprompted by anything, I started listening to an old favorite of mine this morning – Saul Williams, and reliving the feelings his music/slam poetry wires me with. It makes me think about my life at age 20-23, before I (re)met BJ and a new direction ascertained itself in my life. I remember Cody and I checking-out early 90’s slam poetry from the library and watching it fanatically. I remember sitting at the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City with Jaclyn, intimidated by being the only white girls in sight, or Tost in Seattle with Taylor -- paralyzed by the intensity and brilliance of slam poetry. I used to write. I used to like writing, and I wasn’t terrible at it.  Then I stopped. I stopped appreciating other people’s writing. Everything started feeling uninspired, second-hand, or pretentious. I felt ashamed for reserving my time for, what I started viewing as, a self-indulgent act.

There are times I lament these years of traveling, bouncing around relationships, partying, avoiding organized-education, spending every dime I made on fun, writing, etc.  I truly lived by the mantra "live like there's no tomorrow", and I am paying for it now. ;) I could have been working on a career, laying out safety nets for my future family, but then I remember I didn't WANT a family at the time, I didn't care about money as long as I had enough to hop a plane or dine out every night. How drastically my life changed in the past few years, and it pulled all my strings with it. My path had not deviated; I swerved onto an utterly paradoxical one.  I am still recovering from feeling like a person split down the middle.  For the past few years I have felt like there were two parts I got to play by having two sets of people in my life -- the ones that knew me before, and the ones that met me through BJ. The gap is slowly closing, the contrast not so bright. I get down on myself about where I am right now (financially, career-wise) until I look around me and see people that followed the straight and narrow right out of high school and find many of them with a provincial attitude that is not my nature. That life was not for me, it would have tortured me the whole way here. I never thought the life I lead now would be mine, I never saw it coming. It’s taken a lot of adjusting, adapting, and a lot of faith, but I am happier than I ever remember being.  I LOVE my life.  I am proud of it, I love my friends and family, I love my daughter and my husband, positivity comes naturally now -- it's a survival method, and I feel successful in so many ways.  I am proud to have lived the years that came before and how they have shaped me, guided me to where I am now. I hope this will make me a better mom to Zoe, more accepting and open-minded about certain things (and if nothing else I will have some stories about her mother that might blow her mind a little)-- and I hope Zoe can have the experiences I did -- or at least feel like she has the choice to make her own decisions and experience life on her own terms, as I did, rather than live within the boxes much of the society in Utah will pressure her to occupy.  I guess what makes me happy is that we all have a choice, and nothing is ever set in stone.
I am constantly reminding myself that there is still time to live. I’m only 26. Sometimes I feel so old and fear that I’ve wasted too much time to advance my life in certain fields and provide for the bigger family that I now desire to have.
Anyway, here is some Saul Williams lyrics that are quite inspiring and brilliant to me, especially reuniting with them at this point in my life.

'Cause we represent a truth, son
That changes by the hour
And when you're open to it
Vulnerability is power
And in that shifting form
You'll find a truth that doesn't change
And that truth's living proof
Of the fact that God is strange

Talk to strangers when family fails
And friends lead you astray
When Buddha laughs and Jesus weeps
And it turns out God is gay
'Cause angels and messiahs
Love can come in many forms
In the hallways of your projects
Or the fat girl in your dorm
And when you finally take the time
To see what they're about
perhaps you'll find them lonely
Or their wisdom trips you out

Maybe you'll find the cycle's end
You're back where you began
But come this time around
You'll have someone to hold your hand
Who prays for you, who's there for you
Who sends you love and light
Exposes you to parts of you
That you once tried to fight
And come this time around
You'll choose to walk a different path
You'll embrace what you turned away
And cry at what you laughed
'Cause that's the only way
We're gonna make it through this storm
Where ignorance is common sense
And senselessness the norm

And flags wave high above the truth
And the two never touch
And stolen goods are overpriced
And freedom costs too much
And no-one seems to recognise
The symbols come to life
The bitten apple on the screen
And Jesus had a wife
And she was his messiah
Like that stranger may be yours
Who holds the subtle knife
That carves through worlds like magic doors

And that's what I've been looking for
The bridge from then to now
Was watching BET like
'What the fuck, son? This is foul'
But that square box don't represent
The sphere that we live in
The Earth is not a flat screen
I ain't trying to fit in
But this ain't for the underground
This here is for the sun
A seed a stranger gave to me
And planted on my tongue
And when I look at you
I know I'm not the only one
As a great man once said
There is nothing more powerful
Than an idea
Whose time
Has Come.


The Mr. Rogers said...

Wow! What an inspiring post.

I too can relate... with all of the above. The poetry, Saul Williams, Fighting conventional education, never planning on having a family, never planning on growing roots, living one minute like there wont be another!

You mentioned poetry as a self-indulgent act. Let me ask you this. What is different between poetry and blogs? Hell what is different between telling someone what you think and poetry?

It is all a self-indulgent act... If we choose to look at it as such.

That being said, I choose to look at all of the above as an opportunity to do the single most important thing we can do in this life... Connect...

Some might call this love, some vulnerability, I call it connection. Living... and living in a way that inspires others to live, under the sun :)

Your blog is one of my favorites (and I read a ton!). I love the way you right and how open and venerable you are. Thank you for sharing your poetry in the form of this blog.

P.S. I have been looking for a female to collaborate with me on some poetry / music... what you think?

Jenny said...


Thank you for your kind words and perspective; it really made me happy to know you relate. I really enjoy your blog, too, and wish you would write more. I know you and I don't get the chance to interact much in social situations due to You + BJ magnetizing toward one another and I, to your wife, but I've actually always felt like we have more in common than either of us realized. :)

You are right about the connections that occur when we write and share ourselves (our poetry) with each other. I've always tried to "give myself away like the sea" (Y Tu Mama Tambien quote) in my writing, since I’ve always been pathetic at expressing myself verbally, but I suppose I started seeing it as self-indulgent act when I started questioning my own intentions in doing it as well as other people’s intentions in the writing community I used to frequent. It became a huge part of me, but a lot of it was not honest… or too honest at times…and I inadvertently started fucking with my relationships by misrepresenting myself, etc. There are so many reasons people write, and not all of them are to connect with others, but to prove something or flatter themselves with their self-important intellectual verbiage. :)

I am coming back around, however. This blog has been good therapy for helping me recreate my ideas about sharing myself and my life and embracing the little things that come along with this novel family life. I also am starting to open back up to other’s writing…I mean, how could you deny Saul Williams? His level of genius has never fluctuated in my heart. :)

As for the collaboration, that could be really fun! Tell me more details.


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I guess you're just what I needed.