An admission, if you will.

I have a confession(s) to make. Well, let me start from the beginning, then lead into the confession(s). Maybe, that will make what I’m going to say easier. I’m a late bloomer. I’ve only began to find and nurture the creative side of myself over the last 10 years, and not consistently until 2005. As a child, and later teen, I was fairly average. Although I did go to an “alternative” school. I was never quite sure whether it was because I was genuinely some sort of child prodigy, or whether they were meeting their “black student” quota.

I was a sickly kinna kid. While out of school (and that was often by the by) I watched an obscene amount of public television. Fred Rogers was the higher power that I came to know and trust. In my tiny mind I actually had a personal relationship with him (see this blog post). I attribute much of what I did know in my early years to PBS, and to my credit, I probably was a bit of a bright egg. I’m sure it was part of the reason I qualified for the alternative schools I went to. On down the line though, I was quietly moved from the alternative program into regular ass high school.

I didn’t mind. I generally liked school, but I was by far no academic. My grades were quite average. During the first quarter of my freshman year; they were well below average. Yes. I’d become Jane B. Student. I drifted along barely maintaining a C average with little or no extracurricular activities and no nudge in the right (or any) direction from the adults in my life. Before I go on, I must say that I don’t wish to play the blame game here (well I do a little, but I’ll get to that). There was just my mom and 4 children in the 80s-90s in a housing project in North Jersey. I’m sure much of her aim was to get us to adulthood alive with at minimum  a high school diploma. This she did achieve. My guidance councilor however, Ms. Gary, was about as useless as you could get.

Ms. Gary was always one slice of triple chocolate cake away from a massive coronary. She defied death daily with her snack times and 1+ hour-long lunches. She spoke as a pig with a sinus condition might. I’m not quite sure how she got the gig of guiding the young and tender minds of the future. Sadly, I’m not so sure guidance councilors are much better today.

Well, anyway, I had the traumatic experience of having to find out through my over achieving brother who at that time wore the title of ” the-only-college-graduate-in-the-family”,  that I should have “gotten off my ass and gotten some college applications in” (and that was the kinder gentler remix). Needless to say after the verbal assault and battery I endured, I was in Ms. Gary’s office quicker than you could say “chocolate cake”.

“Ms. Gary, my brother thinks I should have applied to college by now.”

heavy nasally breathing followed by food consumption.

“Oh. Isssok. Hyou cah go ta community collegesh.”

“Huh?”

(No, the idea of community college had never occurred to me.)

“Myeah (takes another bite) isss the same two yeahz. I’m headed to lunch…”

(“Oh” I thought, “This was just a snack?”)

“…hyou nee anything elsess?”

“N-no?”

That lie caused me to waste two good years of the tax payers hard earned money on classes I never needed for a major I never pursued.  Eventually I moved south, squandered more tax payer money, got  pregnant, and realized I needed to really get serious about what I wanted to do with my life or become my own ghetto doppelganger. I went to school for real, came out with a practical career as a respiratory therapist.

In the midst of all this education, I rediscovered a love for writing that had sparked when I was in the 11th grade, but my focus, was the kid (men and alcohol ranked pretty high for a while as well.) I got it together eventually, then realized a painful truth…

***this is me getting to the point, pay attention***

As much as I love writing, as much as I love art, and artists.  I’ve never felt well read or cultured enough to be considered a “real” writer.  Anti-climactic to you? For me its plain humiliating at times. I have a fairly intellectual set of friends. I have to admit, at times, I feel like they’re  talking over my head. They’re either talking about things I never quite got around to learning about,  books I never got around to reading, music I never got around to hearing. I feel awkward and embarrassed when entire Facebook comment strings run on into infinity about a topic that I am mute to speak of. I squirm. My humiliation grows.  I avoid social media and dive into the self perceived mundaness of my existence, until something I can relate to comes up, then I reconstitute back into my witty online persona.

This, cultural retardation(?), has also contributed to the birth of a wee inferiority complex troll that dwells in the middle of my self (possibly behind my solar plexus chakra). It exists to make me feel like shit every time I’m around folks who I deem to be somehow intellectually/culturally superior to me. I wrestle with him when I find myself in situations.

I try to talk against its’ nagging little voice:

“Stacey, you’re fine.  They’re people just like you. You’re okay, they’re okay.”

(nervous laughter)

When that shit doesn’t work, I resort to grammar school tactics.  I make myself feel some how superior by picking apart their intellectual validity when or if the opportunity presents itself:

“What an idiot? He used “moot” when it should have been “mute”. How’d he get out of high school, jeez!”

If neither of these work, if I can’t bare the feeling of that fucking troll walking up and down my fragile little ego, then I seek comfort in vices.  Thankfully today they do not include drugs or alcohol, but I do have to confess that I am guilty of Netflixing until I pass out or I feel my eyeballs melting. *Feelings your judgmental gaze*

Granted, this is not some horrible physical affliction from which I suffer.  It’s actually on some levels pretty shallow considering there are people who live deeply meaningful lives having never been educated past elementary school. So in some respects I need to get over myself and go read a fucking book if I want to be able to hold proper dinner conversation (whatever in the hell that means.) On another level though, I have to stop comparing my insides to other people’s outsides. I’m valuable. Period. If I never read another book. Listen to another note of new music, my life is and has been meaningful.

So what I never got the push some kids got. I never read or went where some kids went. I was  fortunate enough to get a very good education that put me on the road to being a  writer. I was fortunate enough to have a mother that set an example that did not reflect the others I saw around me. I’m good right where I am. I will stop (eventually) allowing my lack of knowledge about a topic keep me too embarrassed to ask questions for fear of looking: stupid, uneducated, not in the “loop”, unhip or simply S-Q-U-A-R-E.  I will (eventually) learn to determine if really even want to know about a topic or if  my desire to know is based in a desire to be accepted. Then act accordingly.

Ok. Cats out of the bag. I kinda feel better now, :). I hope someone besides me finds this useful.

Stacey Rose

(Rosie’s off-line identity.)

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As Is

I’ve been on a bit of an unannounced quest to figure out what my blog’s focus should be. Some ideas have been crazy juicy, almost guaranteed to get me an audience based on scandal alone; e.g. focusing the blog on people in my city’s scandalous tidbits submitted anonymously via a “hot box” placed in varying locations. Other ideas are just far too boring to remember. The only reason I started this search at all is because I was still floundering trying to figure out what exactly I should be writing about. By not having a specific focus I felt, and sometimes still feel, like a bit of a charlatan. All writers have a specific focus right?

Well, thanks to two conversations I’ve had over the past week, one with Carlton Hargo (former editor of Creative Loafing Charlotte) and  another with my loving theatrical enabler Eric Paulk (current Managing director of On Q Productions); I’m embracing the literary floosie in me.  Essentially, I just would like to declare that my blog henceforth is about nothing. Not a damn thing. In fact I discovered simply by reading my own “about” page that I wrote that this blog is a “peek in the into the life, mind and heart of a completely sane lunatic.” Boom. Mission accomplished.  Ain’t it always the way? We find the answers where we least expect them…right in front of our faces. Why can’t we just leave ourselves the hell alone? Well, I should have said “I”, but if this relates to you too, cool! If not, hang tight and watch the crazy train roll through.

Es verdad, I’m extremely hard on myself at times, and it is almost always unjustified. It seems I seek to reach some level of “there”-ness and in the process piss all over the progress I have made. I’m already “there”! Right damn now. Locked and loaded on my key board hammering away at 75+ words a minute getting all these rambling thoughts out while they make sense and saying, “Fuck it, I’m going to write anyway!”, when they don’t. What an awesome feeling to just be, without you or anyone else fucking with you!

So, just call me Seinfeld, or what seems cheesier, and therefore even more awesome; The black female Andy Rooney.

Like…

Dontcha hate it when?

What?! If I grow my eye brows out a year (or five), I’m THERE!

Rosie

Rhymes for a Reason

I’ve always been a little envious of visual artist. From where I sit it seems that they get the good fortune of being instantly gratified by their work. When it’s done, it is something that people can instantly see, enjoy, and discuss. Writing…well, it’s less…colorful? And in this day of “hip-illiteracy” it can be down right discouraging to be a literary being.

Thankfully I have come to know and appreciate enough visual artist to understand that they are just as tortured as us melancholy writer types. I cling to my envy though for I have found a new reason for it! Live painting. There simply is no way in hell that live writing could be nearly as fascinating to watch as live painting. It’s like watching a miracle unfold at its best and a disaster occur at its worse. Ideas manifest and are revised, or not. People come through and pull the artist away to ask questions, give props, or to take a quick photo of this work in progress; often not knowing they’ve become a part of said work themselves by introducing a new idea, or derailing the train of thought the artist was on. It’s magic, or at least it is to my dorky soul.

This weekend I got to see two artist that I simply adore, Antoine Williams and John Hairston Jr., wrap up the monumental task of painting a mural on a wall of UNC Charlotte‘s new uptown building. Did I mention they only had Seven (7) (VII) days to pull this off. Watching me write for seven days, if you pardon this bad pun, would be like watching paint dry. Aaaanyway… Enjoy this video clip of them in their theoretical midnight hour.

Sidebar: I think it’s pretty wicked that all three of us are UNC Charlotte alum ;).

Enjoy!

Rosie

Call your people!

Whilst cleaning out my bedroom closet, I happened across my mother’s “death box”. You know, that shoe box where all the obituaries, condolence cards, and such are kept. It was oddly not sad. Entertaining and informative was more like it. I saw people I didn’t know, ones I did, but was to small to remember all that well, and one cousin who left too soon (in her 40s). She was pictured with Robert Dinero…wah?! It goes to show, you just never know where in the world you have family, and what in the world they’re up to. Call a distant cousin today…I dare you!

Rosie