…life from my perspective
See, I TOLD HIM. You can’t just be writing to be writing – you MUST have something to say. The spirit have to hit you. You gotta be inspired. Otherwise, the words feel forced. Contrived. Scripted. Meaningless. Void of emotion. You can’t fake it- the reader will know. And though it’s taken me weeks to draft this piece, to be fair, I got some shit to say. Stuff weigh heavy on my mind man. Moral code. Ideologies. Belief systems. All-isms. As of late, I find myself listening more (people will let you in if given the chance) and noticing my views shift from what they once were into what they’re soon to be. For now. Only to find them change over on themselves again with the passage of time and new experiences. To lay it all out for you, I’m a bit concerned by this. I oftentimes wonder if I’m losing it. If I’m showing signs of betraying the identity I’ve always so proudly attached myself to. Due to this, I don’t share. I mean, I say baby stuff to keep the convo going, exchange of ideas flowing but for the most part it’s surface. I’ve switched to becoming more evasive and unpredictable to allow myself the focus and attention it requires to study others. It’s because of this feeling of a lost soul without a home, I don’t express views that appear to contradict those of years past. It’s because of this I steer clear of convos that invite criticism, judgment, a side eye or a pointing finger. However cowardly this may be it’s helped me navigate the place I’m in.
Where I am is different than where I was say, 4yrs ago. Literally and figuratively. I’ve been given the chance to move away from familiar faces and places and forced to adjust to new spaces that exist waaaaaaayyyyyyy beyond my comfort zone. But ohhhhhhhhh how I miss those faces. And no matter how stifling and dysfunctional and contemptuous that comfort zone was, I’d mastered it. I knew what to expect and when, so I shadow boxed it. Most times, pretty well. But I’m certain, had I not left, I may have never known the pleasure of certain acquaintances, I may have never been challenged in ways I hadn’t been before, I may have never developed a passion for exploration, I may have never had certain wisdom pour into me at the most perfect of times from the most unsuspecting of strangers. It’s during my journey that I’ve learned compassion is the lifeline of humanity and it’s constant and speaks louder than all else.
I said it before and I’ll say it again – Black people in America DO NOT have a monopoly on oppression, disenfranchisement or poverty though this struggle is very unique unlike any other I’ve ever studied. This realisation, doesn’t IN ANY WAY, serve to diminish the struggle for truth, freedom, justice and equality nor trivialise Black people’s place in this never ending fight for liberation. IT DOES HOWEVER, force us to put the mirror on ourselves and figure out the places we need to start fixing fore it won’t be no parts left to fix! As I listened to the Ukranian speak of war profiteering, the pillaging of poor countries for their natural resources, the suppression of the revolution by world leaders who instill fear by inciting conflict, I could see that he too yearned for a better way of life. He too struggled with the guilt of desperately wanting but not knowing how to rescue his brethren from what he deemed a horrific, yet imminent demise. One which imprisons the mind, cripples the fighting spirt, erodes the natural calm and slowly chips away at the essence of what it means to be alive. What it means to be human. And noone, nowhere, knows, understands or is made to confront this inescapable, all-consuming feeling like Black folk in America. More specifically, Black men in America.
Before I get it crackin though, you ARE WELL AWARE, that the answer ain’t coming from THEM right? YOU DO KNOW that the change you seek been a long time coming right? Quiet as kept, we ain’t gone win till we get right within. I said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t have all the answers – just most of them. And in order to nation build and get this money we gotta be A-OK with SOME OF US NOT coming along for the ride. Trust, I BEEN ok. There are NO absolutes and I told TJ time and time again to effect change, initially, it has to be about QUALITY – NOT QUANTITY. Powerful women submit but they don’t follow fools so the onus is on men to lead from their rightful place and flood the communities with strategies for advancement, while challenging, dialogueing and building with women to be more deliberate in their actions and to use unrelenting force in the teaching, nurturing and guidance of the youth. And BELIEVE YOU ME it’s more talkers on the block than do-ers. You need not speak from a podium in a lecture hall, preach from the pulpit or even take up position as a grass roots organiser to do this work- let YO LIFE be the world’s lesson. CHOOSE to become a living testimony to what you speaking on. And when you can, engage a few. Don’t go after those who already think like you do. Sometimes we limit ourselves by creating narrow views based on the experiences and opinions of a few.
He told me there was no god – he is god. He said he’s guided and influenced by the spirit of his ancestors. I feel that. I can get with that. To an extent, I agree with that. I also explained to him that God is a life force. A spirit force. An ever present entity that exists beyond the physical dimension that guides one’s steps, governs one’s movements and helps to make sense of the stages of one’s development. God, Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh are all words commonly used interchangeably to further explain the concept of “life” in the physical world while referring to something that exists outside of one’s self. Eckhart Tolle wrote that unfortunately, traditional science limits all reality to only that which can be measured rejecting the notion of different and continuous dimensions of reality. But it is multidimensional models of reality that are used by scientists to explain light travel and quantum particle physics. And again scientists can’t exactly explain the mechanisms behind HOW these phenomenon occur but relegate them to dimensions outside the physical realm. It is this justification Toole uses for the existence of a “Being” outside our “earthly selves” and further explains our oneness with “Being” as a simultaneous and indestructible connectedness to ourselves and that which is greater than us. I’m still studying this though so best believe there WILL be more to come.
Men have to study themselves, learn themselves and know themselves before they can even begin to reach, teach and lead someone else. They have to examine world history not necessarily from the European perspective (which almost always precludes the study of societies and civilisations that predates European participation) but from an African perspective. In the book Know Thy Self, Naim Akbar explains that the African concept of self is comprised of a spiritual self, a physical self, a personal self (mind), a social self and a tribal self (ancestral). The holistic self works in tandem and not only exists within the individual but transcends space and time. This is why your teachings must be lessons in feeding the spirit. Men have to see the importance and the need for such a restructuring, be convinced that this frees him from his own self-imposed oppression and be made aware that the concept of self, defined by self, enables one to align themselves with an identity that is a reflection of who they are and fulfils part of the vision for who they want to become. Individual vision can then be linked to a universal vision which represents the history, goals and ideals of the collective. But Dr. Woodson already told you this though. Oh, and you always want to align yourself with an identity – not be one with it. We can unknowingly be held prisoner by what we think we should be simply because we’ve declared it for ourselves – impeding progress.
You can’t change your reality until you change your mind.
“Understand the characters of the people you are dealing with in order to penetrate their intentions. When you know the cause, you know the effect. The effect tells the motive. The person swayed by passion cannot speak of things as they are: passion speaks in him, not reason. Each person speaks according to his emotion or his humour, and all are far from the truth. You should know how to decipher a face and spell out the lettering of somebody’s soul.”