Monday Ramble #52 – “The One”
I wrote this post over three years ago. I think I was pondering marriage and considering being single forever at the same time. I was speaking to people about the topic, gathering information and searching for the answers to help me decide if I was going to be one of those career-driven, offspring-less, successful moguls or if I was going to be a vulnerable human sacrificing financial freedom to join forces with some woman that I believed would remain in love with me forever.
The combination of having a family and experiencing wealth is what I desired, yet it didn’t seem possible. How was I supposed to tear down my ego to let someone in, and simultaneously shed that same ego to find income and explore the true root of my passion beyond music? It’s interesting to review my old thoughts and see where I am today. I can smell the uncertainty in my written words as well as the spoken ones on songs. Who knows what I will feel like in another three or four years?
A few of my boys and I were having a conversation about love and crap like that, and one of them posed the question, “How do you know when someone is the one?”
I said, “You just know.”
That wasn’t right. Then I said, “If you sleep with a girl and you don’t want to teleport to another universe afterwards, then most likely you’ve found her.”
I didn’t really have an answer at the time, so that was the best I could come up with.
The rest of them chimed in (I’m paraphrasing) that the mission is to find a woman who you want at home to raise your kids, be your wife and your best friend initially…until the friend part goes away, the passion diminishes, and she just becomes your roommate and bill paying-partner that is the most tolerable out of any other women you’ve been with while you still do your thing on the side discreetly.
I didn’t like that scenario.
My other friend said that when you find “the one” you feel love in your soul in a way that can’t be explained in words. He said when he met his wife it was inexplicable and he knew she was “it” for him. He was confident that he had experienced his last first kiss, and that he would give up anything and do anything in the world to make her happy. He said she was not without flaws but perfect for him, and her expectations of him were just what he wanted in a relationship.
I haven’t spoken to him since their divorce but I would love to know whose fault it was and how that changed.
This elderly man told me “the one” is really you and in your life there are counterparts, companions, and partners that you meet along the path that you have connections with at certain points in your life.
He said the person you date when you’re 24 might not be a match for you when you’re 31, but it doesn’t mean they weren’t right at the time. Then there comes a time when there’s a person that you find that you would like to share your bloodline, time, thoughts, memories, family and space with. Read the rest of this entry »
Whether it’s high school basketball or cheerleading or the school play or the dance recital, there’s something scary and equally exciting about a tryout. Even the word “tryout” sparks a bit of anxiety. It’s the youthful version of the audition. It places people in a position of authority and can crush dreams, inspire greatness and introduce politics simultaneously.
Now that I am assistant coaching high school basketball I have a different appreciation for tryouts. I am on the other side of the curtain. I can respect the fear in the young players’ eyes, the worry they have about doing well and the power that the coaches have when making decisions about who makes the team.
When I flashback to my first tryout I was in 8th grade and I had just started playing basketball. I was pretty terrible but for some reason I thought I could dribble. I got cut.
And the funny thing about it is that I wasn’t upset. I was so driven to make the team and it had very little to do with basketball. All of my boys were on the team. In fact, anyone that was popular was on the team. It was like a rite of passage for any dude in Philippa Schuyler middle school with some type of social status to play on the basketball team. We only played about three games, with the student-faculty game being the biggest event of our season. Making the team was truly imperative for me.
With that said, I marched in Coach Davis’ office and demanded that I be on the team. I tried out as a forward and I told him I may be better suited to play guard. So he let me try out again and ultimately I made it. I did it. I didn’t accept no for an answer when I was probably not good enough to make it.
A year later I tried out again but this time I was a freshman at Brooklyn Technical High School attempting to make the J.V team. I didn’t even imagine trying out for varsity. I played all summer in preparation for that moment, but to be honest I just didn’t know how to play. I watched guys play in the park and I emulated them but no one taught me how to shoot, I never did a dribbling drill, and I had no idea how to play defense. I was 5’7” and frail. The only people I knew that were trying out with me was my boy Kijana who lived around my way and he was much better than me. And my other boy Steve who went to junior high with me was also at the tryouts. Steve was taller and bigger than me, he was also better than I was and he didn’t seem scared at all. To make matters worse I was unsure about what to wear to the tryout. I remember Coach Davis saying that he knew Mr. Rock, the JV coach at Brooklyn Tech so maybe it made sense for me to wear my Schuyler jersey at tryouts. Nah that’s thirsty…I thought to myself. I decided to wear the t-shirt from a tournament I played in over the summer thinking that would show that I had some experience.
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I don’t remember exactly when BET launched 106 and Park but I do recall enjoying their version of MTV’s Total Request Live when it debuted. It had a video countdown and AJ and Free were pretty decent as hosts. I had hopes of making it on the show and having my video crack the countdown, and I wanted to have an in-depth interview that would reach the world via BET’s platform. Some days I would imagine the questions they would ask me, and how I might flirt with Free and laugh at AJ, I was a young adult with a dream.
That was probably a decade ago when I watched the show daily to catch up on who was hot in the game and who was next to rise. They changed hosts, switched up the format, and the audience got younger as I got older. Finally in 2009 I was able to sit on the 106 and Park stage and judge Freestyle Friday while promoting my album My Soul To Keep. My dream of being a guest on that show faded away. I am no longer interested in appealing to the youthful masses, and the only time I view the program is when my peoples like Mickey Factz, J. Cole or Skyzoo have been featured.
Anyway, I had to really take a step back and appreciate my name being called to do a verse for The Backroom, which is somewhat like “The Basement” that I used to watch on Rap City. It’s a throwback to when rappers could show their pure talent by actually putting words together without worrying about marketability, sales or downloads. This was the reason I began doing music. Without reflecting on my past, I almost missed the importance of this present moment. Yesterday my segment on BET aired. I have been on national television before but it was different yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »
A few years ago I wrote about the “pee dream” and described it as a frightening experience that creeps in during adulthood with the aim to ruin reputations. It’s the unconscious, nocturnal vision we have where we see ourselves in the bathroom and we’re ready to release urine and if we don’t wake up in time then we revert back to our adolescent days where bed-wetting was right up there with tying our shoes as the top obstacles in life.
But anyway, I bring this topic up because the dreams involving urination are becoming more and more frequent and I am not sure if I’m going to be able to keep on escaping a saturated mattress every night as I get up there in age. As for now, I am thankful that I have my wits and bladder in control.
That brings me to a thought about a dream I had the other night.
It was an interesting dream that had to fall in between the one I had about peeing in a fountain and one where I was at a urinal at a movie theater.
In the dream I was at home, but it wasn’t the home I live in now. It was a house…and it was pretty big… and it was a Saturday…and I was making pancakes. And my daughter walked in the kitchen. She was an 8-year-old daughter. At least I think she was 8. She looked around 8. Now that I think of it, she told me she was 8. She was asking when she could have her own phone so she could Snapchat with her friends. And I pretended I knew what Snapchat was and then I told her she could have one that only had a talk and text plan.
And she asked me how she was supposed to watch videos like her friends did. It opened up a conversation about what videos she had seen and what she thought about them. And since this was my first time being a parent and all of a sudden I had an 8-year-old, I thought to myself, maybe this is my stepdaughter. But she kind of looked like me, and the way she spoke to me, she seemed like flesh and blood. Read the rest of this entry »
One day I was sitting in the crib and flipping through channels and ironically I landed on a movie with a plot that surrounds a remote control. I saw it as a sign, similar to cooking meth in the kitchen and Breaking Bad comes on…you would have to check it out. Anyway, I had never watched The Adam Sandler flick entitled Click because I assumed it might be goofy and silly with predictable moments and lighthearted comedy. I like Adam in roles where he’s semi-serious like Spanglish and Funny People but I figured that a story about a remote control that pauses and plays his real life had to be juvenile. Maybe you’ve seen it since it came out way back in 2006 when I was still counting daytime minutes so you might not be too interested in what I got from it. Or maybe you haven’t seen it and reading this could possibly spoil it for you. I guess those sentences were warnings to stop you from continuing to read but I didn’t mean to discourage you. I think you should keep going since you started reading already. Now I’ve wasted time convincing you. Which brings me to my point about the film itself; time is important. Read the rest of this entry »
I get asked every once in awhile why I discontinued releasing music at the moment. My generic answer is that I need to take a step back or I’m not in love with the hip-hop genre anymore. Those answers are honest but they might be incomplete. The dream I once had as a youngster has changed. Music has changed, its popularity has reached new heights but the characteristics of a star artist with fans and respect are not the same as they were before. I don’t view any of these differences as negative.
Well maybe the lack of wordplay and substance can be described as a drop down from what was going on years ago. And possibly hip-hop’s obsession with mollies, combined with the lean-sipping sensation fused with an all-time high of auto-tuned sound alikes could be deemed as a far cry from the golden era.
But for the most part there are new artists creating waves of music that cross genres, leap over stereotypical boundaries and they redefine what rappers sound and look like.
So why did I pause my progression? The real question I have been asking myself is what was it all for? Read the rest of this entry »
When I heard the news about Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson’s 2-year-old biological son dying because the mother’s boyfriend assaulted him, I cringed imagining what that pain would feel like as a parent. Then I felt a small bit of relief when I got the news that Adrian had never even met the child. That doesn’t lessen the blow for someone out there who lost a relative that had only lived for two years.
And the kid had a father who was the caretaker, and that guy had to learn of his child’s death due to the hands of another man in a situation he most likely had no control over. How does one just accept something so tragic? How do you just wake up everyday with that weighing on your soul and just keep existing? I think if I knew some ancient Asian secret to cure my emotional pain and get over it, I most likely would deny it because there’s a time when we wallow in sadness as if it is therapeutic. Every bit of attention from others and every moment of mourning, as difficult as they seem at the time, also appear to be necessary.
There’s therapy based around this ideology that teaches subjects to embrace their private events, especially previously unwanted ones. The process aims to help individuals clarify their personal values and to take action on them, bringing more vitality and meaning to their life process, increasing psychological flexibility.
That term caught my attention simply because we stretch our bodies to become more flexible, we compromise our spending so our finances can cover what we need, we even expand the confines of our emotions so that we can reach new boundaries of love. But to alter our way of thinking, to modify our reaction to the factors that routinely bother us, doesn’t seem like second nature to most of us.
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I had a show in North Africa years ago when my music career was a decision or two away from fame and fortune. Unfortunately, the Internet was not a haven for the grinding artist back in 2005. The people in the audience that could possibly research me today; had very little knowledge of me other than Myspace and the fact that I was on Virgin Records. The guy responsible for booking the show was named Josh, and he was an eclectic dude that actually moved out to Morocco from NY for a few months. He learned the language, hit up the Mosque, and adapted to using a hole in the ground as a lavatory.
I noticed a tattoo on his right forearm that read “It Is.” I was hoping it wasn’t “Itis” since that would be a little racist but funny.
I wasn’t going to be the one to ask about it but as we rode on the bus to the venue, I was glad someone inquired about the tat. The answer was basically what I expected: Any occurrence, good or bad, grandiose or minuscule, just is. Sure you can get excited, yes you may react, at some points your emotion leads you to feel anger, sadness, resentment, pain, and unforeseen circumstances may alter your life forever. But acceptance is one of those difficult concepts to grasp that puts life’s ongoings in perspective. Sometimes I wished I hadn’t seen that tattoo, or read some books on Buddhism, or felt like a Zen master some days when my reaction or attitude seemed passive to normal humans…but this is me. I am a habitual “accepter.”
I’m not great at it but practice makes perfect. I used to find myself expecting people to reciprocate, act a certain way, or do what I would do in certain situations. And even more than that, I am on the other side of someone else’s expectations and desires. How many times do you say to someone, “I would do it for you, why wouldn’t you do it for me?” Read the rest of this entry »
I would like to start this piece by saying that I am not good at many things. That sounds a little too negative so let me begin again, I am great at writing words that rhyme, I’m decent at basketball, I graduated with honors from college, I can keep my eyes open for a long time without blinking, I can read signs like “stop” and “yield” from hundreds of miles away, I can heal myself without (health insurance) ever seeing a physician, and I don’t have the best memory on Earth but I have at least two pin numbers, three phone numbers and my own social security number stored in my head. I hath amazed you, I know this, I feel it.
Aside from all that, I think one of my greatest attributes isn’t really an attribute, but I have an innate ability to store toilet paper before I need it. I don’t know how attractive that is or if it would work as a bragging right. I know some guys talk about their cars, or money, or jewelry. Not many of them can boast about having at least two family size packages of no less than 24 rolls of Charmin or Scott Extra Soft unopened in their linen closet as an unmarried dude. If they can, then I salute them. But this is my claim to fame since I am so bad at many other things.
I decided to run down some of my faults, not because I would like to improve on them but because I have time on my hands.
Sometimes I am on the phone with a business representative and after a transaction they give me a confirmation number. Or sometimes they have to spell out an email or a name and this is where the “assigning letters to a proper or improper noun” action takes place. You know the drill, “S as in Sam, A as in apple, B as in boy, etc.”
I don’t know how people come up with these so fast but I assume they go through alphabet-noun training. I love English, I knew the alphabet backwards when I was 38 months old, I’m a wiz at (cheating at) Scattegories, I’m moderately strong at Ruzzle, and I used to pride myself on solving word jumbles in the newspaper when I was young. But if I have to spell out my email or my name or something using nouns to represent each letter, I always get stumped and I feel crazy.