Prayed and Kanyed up.

Warning: This post is not for the religiously or spiritually closed minded. Any attempt to debate me on the validity of the content of this blog will be promptly met with a Kanye Shrug ( :/ ) and utter indifference.

I have struggled with the concept of God for most if not all of my life.  Most people do. Even the “faithful”.  No judgement though. Like pimpin’, faith ain’t easy. It’s reliance on the fact that no matter what, everything is as it should be and will be done in some type of divine order of which no one quite knows the essence of. Scary shit no matter how you slice it. It’s no wonder that people who claim to “have it” right down to the whos and whats, and how comes will fight you to the death over whether their version of the divine truth as the right one. Because if there is anything that loosens a string on the cardigan of their faith, then the whole damn thing unravels. That’s no way to believe in my opinion. It’s risky to put all your eggs of hope in one basket.

Why can’t faith be dynamic? The answer: It can. It is. It always was. We’re just the ones that try to capture it in a bottle, store it away as our own until the light dies out like summer time fire flies. If we are really honest with ourselves  we know the things we believe in, the things we have faith in, change dramatically over the course of our lives. From the tooth fairy, to Santa Claus, to our parents. Yes, even our parents. It’s been devastating for me to find out that so many of my mother’s parenting techniques were deeply flawed. I was quite a mess when that cardigan unraveled, let me tell you.

The things that get us through, per what I believe, are sent to us when we need them. My belief in God/Higher Power whatever you choose to call He, She or It is this:  It is a collective force made up of people, places, things, experiences, art, and just about whatever else you can name, that are placed before you to guide, protect, or motivate you forward in your life’s journey. (Process that anyway you need to. The shrug awaits your judgmental gaze … :/ ) I’ve come to this conclusion over time and an ass load of experience.

Today my HP appears in so many random manifestations I just choose to call it life. My life lately has been inundated with grad school apps and fear of rejection to said grad schools.  My stomach knotted. My mind froze for words when attempting to write letters of intent with 750 max  words.  A writer, applying to a writing program, couldn’t conjure 750 words to explain why I wanted in to said program. I once again (as I often do) began to doubt if writing is for me.  I stopped blogging (obviously). I obsessed. I compulsed.  Both of which I’m highly skilled at. Then Life sent me an answer. In a word…well two: Kanye West.

I’d always shied away from Kanye because frankly, he got on my damn nerves. All that ego.  All that mouth.  All that audacity.  All that over the top…shit, that I really needed a piece of, just a tiny piece of, to grow the balls I needed to just get the damn apps done and move on.  I had not prior to November of this year owned any Kanye West music due to reasons listed above.  A dear friend of mine would debate me on the necessity of Kanye in my life every time he had to sit through another of my sensitive artist bitch and whine sessions. “What if they don’t like me?“What if I’m not good enough? It is Brown University?”  What a sad sack I’d been.

This friend suggested that I get on a “Kanye Self-Esteem Work Out Plan”. He gave me every Kanye CD in his car and sent me off to listen, to mainly Kanye for the duration of my grad school app process. The results?  Well the long term effects remain to be seen, but I tell you what; because I stayed open minded, because I followed simple directions even while skeptical … the app process got easier. In fact, the College Dropout  album allowed me to take the power I was giving to these institutions to dictate my validity as an artist, back.

Was it all Kanye? Nah. Of course not. As I’ve said faith is complicated, uncertain, and dynamic. However, in that window of time Kanye’s ego, human frailty, and unapologetic hypocrisy was a higher power’s way of letting me know that it is okay to be exactly who I am with or without the validation of anyone or anything. He’s still working for me (Kanye that is.) I’m sure the day will come when he doesn’t, and I’m fully accepting of that. I will simply stay open to what life has next for me. In the meantime I will finish my apps (last one due 1/15!), and “throw my hands up high”, knowing that “ghetto people” of which I am one. “got this.” Life … got this. We just need to keep the faith.


Now go work it out…

…and remember “most of all, we’re at war with ourselves”


So I’ve been slackin’ off some with my blogging lately. Mainly because I’m directing a show, but also because honestly I sometimes don’t know what I want to write about, what medium I want to write in, or if anyone cares. There is the money shot. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I write and who I write for. I journal daily. That clearly is for me to cut through the cob webs and try to stabilize my rambling mind. Other stuff, whether I care to admit it or not…is for others.

I like to think I help or entertain people with what I write, but I’ve had to consider lately the very real possibility that outside a very small number of people in the grand scheme of things…no one really cares. I am just one writer out of millions. While I may be fairly decent at it, I try not to delude myself into thinking that I’m “the best”. So why do it? Up until now it’s been for that ugly V word (no not vagina). VALIDATION.

No one wants to die thinking their life really didn’t mean much. So we seek, almost from the time we’re toddlers for something that defines us. Most of the time we can count on others to identify us based on their perception of who we are. Who we are in the truest sense is buried underneath layers of outside opinions and we self fulfill the prophecies of others until we reach a point when something just doesn’t feel right. Maybe we’re teenagers when it happens. Maybe we’re a 45 year old man with a classic Trans Am, a digitally remastered version of the Slippery When Wet album, and a young woman in the passenger seat born the same year Living On Prayer hit the Billboard charts. Whenever it happens, it happens. Then we spend the bulk of the rest of our lives trying to figure out who the fuck we are.

In a sense, I am lucky. No one ever labeled my a writer. It was suggested I was good at it, however it was never quite driven home as much as things like “you’re fat”, “you’re poor”, “you’re weak” (mainly due to my asthma).  I was able to choose writing in a very organic way. When I did, I ran with it, but because I was never labeled “writer” it was harder for me to believe…Catch 22.  So what did I do, I began to seek validation that I was a writer through my writing. I began to seek my value through people’s feelings about my writing. I’ve had successes that have allowed me to believe a little bit more, however when I have had failures…I feel those son-of-a-bitches like alcohol on a paper cut. The fond memories of first time out cover stories, acceptance to cross country playwrights festivals fade instantly.

I recently got a letter…a rejection letter…for a fellowship that I felt would have solidified the fact that I was indeed a writer of merit. It felt like my heart had been ripped out. I sat in my car screamed, and cried for about 5 minutes, then just felt like shit for the rest of the evening. Thank GOD for recovery. It took me no longer than 24 short hours to realize why it hurt so bad. It was because I not only was seeking confirmation of the fact that I was a writer. I was seeking confirmation of my value as a human being. That’s dangerous shit. That’s hell of a lot of weight to give a $10,000 fellowship. Ten thousand dollars ain’t worth my good feelings about myself. It’s time to abort mission, and redirect. Because thinking like that will KILL a muthaphucka like me.

I have to keep up the work on me. Double up my effort on being satisfied with just being. I was listening to A New Earth (by Eckhart Tolle) while I was on the road the other day and he said something that just blew my mind completely. I’m paraphrasing, but essentially he said that in my desire to be the best (writer in my case) I’m depending on millions of other people’s failures. That bothers the hell out of me. I don’t want my  “success” and good feeling about me to be based on someone else being miserable. I want my life to be a success simply because I AM. Back to the drawing board :).


Alone…and okay.

The saddest part of  being an addictive personality for me is my amazing ability to be in a room full of people and still feel intensely alone.  Alone. A word no one really likes to hear and a reality no one really likes to live, but the fact is as the adage goes: Born alone. Die alone. Even in between this great alpha and omega there is still a hell of a lot of you time. Time we fill trying to stuff with stuff and we stuff and we stuff and we stuff stuff stuff stuff.  Ultimately all this stuffing ever leaves you is empty with a sick belly…sorta like eating a thousand pounds of cotton candy.

I am not nor will I probably ever be a new age guru, but I have after much stuffing, sick bellying, and growth learned that being alone is something that must be accepted. It must be accepted in the way that I have to accept that I will never have a relationship with my father. He is gone. I cannot change that, so I must accept. Getting to the magical land of acceptance is some whole other shit. It has so far involved finding myself alone (or at least feeling alone), realizing it, and then not trying to do anything to change the feeling. I’ll be honest. It sucks. But just like storm clouds, the feeling passes. I am even, at times, able to enjoy being by myself. A wise man recently told me that he adores solitude. He more than accepts it, he embraces it.  I’m not quite there yet, but I do get peeks and glimpses of solitudes potential, and what I see. I like.

Well. I guess I’ll head to bed. Alone :).