Reclaiming My Time

I think I’m going to stop smoking weed.

Not indefinitely, but for the foreseeable future. Classes have started, business is picking up at work, and I have one semester of college left. It’s crunch time and  since I’ve been on probation, I’ve seen how productive I can actually be when I’m not taking weed naps. 

This growing up shit is a trip.

*trick

I advise you steer clear of it if you can help it. 

It hasn’t been easy hitting the ground running as far as adulthood. I’ve taken more than my share of L’s since I’ve been out in these streets. 

And y’know, all things considered, I’m alright. 

Life isn’t about getting it right all the time. Sometimes it’s about lessons and I’m happy I’m learning them now rather than later.

A bitch has priorities and plans. 

Im really making Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance my personal mantra. 

Every new year for the past few years, I always tell myself “This year will be better than the last.” Well, 2017’s almost over. And though this year has been somewhat of a shit show,  I suppose it wasn’t as much of a shit show as 2016. 

To be victorious, we must find glory in the little things. And my little victories thus far are enough to keep me going. 

Story Time: Mischief Managed… Barely.

Bout 7:45 p.m.: Wading through a sea of people, trying to get between stages in time to see Solange. It was hella niggas and for a minute, the traffic was standstill. If I wasn’t high I probably would’ve had a nervous break down. Crowds were never my thing.

So after making it back to the Green Stage, Reuben and I opted to just stay there. Neither of us were willing to go through that crowd again to go back to see SZA. Fuck it.

We smoked a joint and waited for Sampha.

He’s a helluva live performer.

Bout 8:00 p.m.: Sampha wraps up. Now it’s time for Solange, who’s set to come on at 8:30.

Sidebar: We only had Saturday passes. I had to be in class on Monday and Reu had to go to work. We bought bus tickets to head back to D.C. for 1:30 a.m. My flight was at 8:30 the next morning. The bus ride is four hours long. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Bout 8:20 p.m.: Bill DeBlasio rolls his ass up on stage and from the way the crowd was acting, he ain’t too popular with the black folks of New York. He talks for about five minutes about how Afropunk is “the best event around,” and leaves. Mind you, he comes on right before Solange, I’m guessing, for maximum nigga viewing potential. The crowd wasn’t here for his Hoover vac impersonation.

I don’t know much about Bill’s political goings on in NY, but that was a political stunt if I ever saw one.

8:45 p.m.: Solange still isn’t on. Technical difficulties.

Reu and I still have to Uber back to Williamsburg, get our things from the place we were crashing at, and catch the subway back to Time Square where our bus is leaving from.

9:00 p.m.: Solange finally comes on. We only have time to stay for two songs before we have to fight through the crowd again to beat the rush of people leaving and blocking up traffic.

At this point, my phone is dead. Reuben’s is on like 10%. We still need to order the Uber.

9:45 p.m. Our attempts to beat the crowd and miss the traffic failed. Barry Commodore Park is surrounded on all sides by bumper-to-bumper traffic. Reu’s phone: 5%. No Uber. My phone’s still dead.

10:00 p.m.: A good, albeit shady, samaritan whips a charger out of his fanny pack and lets Reuben charge his phone so we could order the Uber.

Bout 10:25 p.m.:Back in Williamsburg. But bitch, where’s my phone? In the fucking Uber.

We call him. He’s picked up another passenger already.

We wait.

In the meantime, we gather our shit so that when the Uber driver brings my phone back, we can hit the subway. Time is of the mother fucking essence.

11:00 p.m.: Uber guy pulls up, returns my phone, and we power walk to the next subway stop.

Bout 12:15 a.m.: We finally make it to Time Square with an hour to spare.

BITCH.

That morning we rolled four joints. We smoked three at Afropunk. Reuben kept the forth one in his sock. God knew we would need it.

We found the bus stop, got some food from McDonald’s, and found a nice lil spot off in the cut to smoke that last J.

1:15 a.m.: We board the bus to D.C.

Nigga, we made it.

Bout 5:45 a.m.: We make it to D.C. Reuben calls an Uber to take him to his apartment. I call an Uber to take me to the airport.

Mischief Managed. Barely.

 

 

Living on the Edge

This weekend I finally got to go to Afropunk and… bitch.

The line up was fire.

The melanin was fire.

The atmosphere was on fire – it was hot af but myself and my main man Reuben (@fromthedeskofreuben) kept it fresh and funky and had a blast.

Not only was it my first time at Afropunk, it was my first time in NYC, which was double my trouble.

I’ve been debating on whether or not I want to continue grad school up there and after this weekend… whew! It would definitely be an adjustment but I think I could accept the challenge.

It was a ton of people! Usually crowds make my ass itch but luckily we had a few joints rolled and ready to calm my nerves. In the midst of the sea of people, I actually ran into Dustin Ross from The Friend Zone!! *fan girls*

I’m gay as fuck but that is a beautiful man. Our interactions only lasted seconds before he was carried away in the crowd, but that was enough time for me to yell “Hey Dustin” and him to acknowledge my existence and say “Hey” back.

Honestly, I feel liberated. I’ve never seen so many carefree black folk in one place all smoking, dancing, and living in the moment.

I loved every second.

Here’s to next year!

New York, New York

I fucked up and answered the waitress at the coffee shop with a “yes ma’am” and immediately blew my cover. Nobody says “ma’am” here. What killed me was the almost uncomfortable look that came over her face when I said it – a look that said, “You must be from out of town.”

Observation: When Wyclef said he liked his chicken wings fried hard, I honestly thought it was a joke. 

But nah, I ordered some chicken wings yesterday and they were fried hard as shit. Is that a New York thing?

They were good though.

There is no order in Manhattan. You’d think folks would walk on the right side of the sidewalk, the way we drive but no, it’s just an anxiety inducing free-for-all. 

Yet everyone manages to get where they’re going unscathed, for the most part. After a while, I could see the chaotic harmony in which people move here. 

Culture shock. 

I’ve always thought it’d be cool to live in New York but my first visit tells me that it’s going to be more of an adjustment than I thought. 

But with time, I think I could do it. 

The things that I find strange still have a certain charm that I can’t put my finger on. Even the smells. 

Life is Funny Enough Without Your Bullshit

Listening to this recent mailbag episode of The Read has me thinking…

In particular, the question called “Trump stole my swag” or something like that. It was a man writing who had just recently been married. Evidently they had hats made with a hashtag and the hats were red and the print was white. Just like Trump’s campaign hat. 

Fury and Crissle told him to retire that shit though he seemed reluctant to do so in his letter. Just because Trump took his swag, so he says.

One of my many random ass obsessions is symbolism. I mean if we think about it, that’s all that differentiates us from any other animal – the capacity to impose meanings on symbols or objects to organize our thoughts, communities, and cultures. The alphabet, our number systems, our vocabularies, our cultures are nothing but commonly accepted meanings that have been imposed onto arbitrary shapes that early people drew into the sand. 

Now look at us now. 

I said all that to say that symbols are powerful, and that red and white hat is one that tightens my sphincter anytime I see it. 

It was the horocrux that Trump imbued with a piece of his old and rotting soul, and thus I’ve come to see the hat as a symbol of ignorance, xenophobia, egoism, and out right fuckery.

Sometimes it’s not even a Make America Great Again hat. Even the color and style of it is enough to make me roll my eyes.

Now, I have a motley bunch of associates of all races. And some of them (who I really don’t know that well) think it’s cool to wear that shit “ironically.”

“You know I don’t really think that way in real life.”

*rolls eyes*

My thing is…  there’s plenty of things in life that are actually funny.

I think it’s funny how I’m in 20K worth of debt for a goddam degree that everybody told me I needed. 

I think it’s funny how bitches think they can try me in Walmart and cut me in the checkout line. 

I think it’s funny that some of these people out here really thought Donald Trump would be a good president.

The material is endless without you going for the lowest hanging fruit for a laugh. 

Bitch, THIS ain’t funny. This lunatic is going to kill us all. 

And the thing about symbols is that one they are assigned a meaning, it usually sticks and it’s hard to change it. 

So even people who wear the hat just for shits and giggles, or have a similar looking accessory at home, just retire that shit and have a seat. It’s okay. 

Besides, it’s probably best to let it be. The red and white trucker hat has been tainted for all eternity. It ain’t cute any more. 

Almost Caught a Lick but, So Worth It

Bitch. 

I almost fried my fucking retinas trying to catch a glimpse of it.

No I didn’t by the glasses because like, no, that’s money – I got shades. I’m not paying any amount of money for 8 minutes of anything. 

Overhyped as it was, I love when I’m lucky enough to catch those extraordinary moments of celestial happenings. In the 10 seconds that I could bare to look at it, I was reminded that we are all at the mercy of a bigger universe with its own agenda. 

And it’s those moments that I live for – the simultaneous realization of humility and empowerment. 

Brain on Drugs #3

Classes have started again. 

Being a black face in white places has been a constant in my life. 

Classes at a PWI for someone who’s black used to be quite anxiety inducing. My neurosis goes back to elementary, a place where I was also a minority. 

I can never shake the feeling that I’ve got something to prove. And though I prove time and time again that being an intellectual isn’t just a “white thing,” there is still a pressure – a sort of performance anxiety. 

Perhaps none of these white folks actually consider me to be in some way inferior to them. Perhaps this paranoia is all in my head. It’s my senior year, and throughout my time here, in many of my classes, I have cemented myself as the smart, quiet girl in the back of the room. 

Yet still, there is the thought that I’m still competing.

How’s that for double consciousness? 

Whose Mans Is This?

You know… I went to sleep on November 8th confident that Hillary Clinton would be my next president. Then I woke up the next morning, saw the headlines, and thought, “Well, this ought to be fun.”

And y’all, what a ride this has been.

Whose mans is this? Can somebody get him before he kills us all?

I don’t look at the news anymore because that would be a frivolous exercise. But from what I’ve seen and heard through the streets and via twitter, this shit’s going downhill fast.

Y’know, I had a class with a guy who was an avid Trump supporter, last semester. When asked why, the only thing he could give me was that “Hillary is liar.”

And so is your mammy – for telling you that you were special as a child.

I’ve been fighting the urge for the past six months to track him down and ask, “How’s that working out for you?”

Before General George put the presidency down after two terms, he specifically gave this party system the side eye in his farewell address, essentially telling America that this party shit is cool or whatever, but don’t let that shit distract you from the real issues.

And now, some 230 years later, we’re suffering from the very thing he warned against – hyperpartisanship.

Donald Trump is the poster child for putting party before country and look where that shit’s got us.

America when will you learn to learn from the past? In the grand scheme of things, 230 years ain’t that long and in those 230 years, America has probably done more irreversible damage to this earth than the thousands of years of war, famine, and plagues that came before.

This man is single-handedly dismantling all the hopes and dreams of the leaders that came before… and ya mans did that.

 

 

Brain on Drugs #2

Bitch. I’m on probation.

Piss tests for four months. Six months to pay these fucking fines.

And all this legal bullshit has me thinking about what bullshit America’s drug laws are.

Consider opium. A plant used to make morphine, a powerful analgesic drug used in hospitals.

It’s also the one thing you need to make heroin…

You can also cook with the white latex-y stuff that comes out of the flower when you scratch it.

One is legal and one is not. But if we’re calling a spade a spade, it’s the same goddamn thing. The United States has a deep history of picking and choosing its holier-than-thou moments and it’s enforcement of drug laws is no exception. As of now, opium and its derivative opiates are “Schedule II” drugs under U.S. Federal Law. Can you guess what marijuana is?

Schedule I.

That’s right. In the eyes of the law, marijuana is more dangerous than heroin. But nobody’s ever over dosed on weed before. Like ever.

I’m gone play along with this probation bullshit for now. Because jail is a real thing.

But I’m screaming “Fuck the system,” every step of the way.

 

 

In These Podcast Streets

A month ago, I didn’t even know who Janet Mock was. I don’t know how I came across “Never Before with Janet Mock” but the shit is lit.

Her first guest was none other than the queen mother, Tina Knowles – Lawson, and for a little under an hour they waxed philosophic about the princesses of Parkwood and her own endeavors in making the world a more hospitable place for young black girls.

And the roster just gets better as the season goes on.

Two weeks ago, none other than the man behind Joanne the Scammer, Brandon Miller, came on to talk about how he got to now. I must admit, I was a bit late on the Joanne the Scammer wave. But I kept hearing people say “Get out of my caucasian home,” and I had to investigate the origin of such a statement. My googles brought me to Joanne’s Instagram page.

Last week, she had none other than my #wce, Crissle West, from The Read. I didn’t think I could love her anymore than I already did, but after a fun talk between she and Janet, I can’t shake the thought that somewhere in a parallel dimension, Crissle and I are actually sisters. So smart, so beautiful, so black.

In my analysis thus far, Janet’s got the podcast juice. And we’re only like nine episodes in.