My friend TED

I’ve been watching TED talks recently. A lot of them in fact and you know I’m in the business of education and so some have been directly linked to my field. Others have just been helping me find my way. It’s been an amazing journey. I’ve learned much about myself and grieved over my many deaths. I’ve mourned the young woman I lost. I’ve tried to find the teenager I was. I’ve seen the shadow I became and I’ve cried over how feint I appeared. I’ve searched for a beginning. I’m realising that in the face of not being able to exactly remember the best version of me I will instead have to make new connections and start to form my future self. I must not try to recreate my past for that is where the dust settled and I stopped growing or moving forward. I’m 36 and present. I will never again be 9 or 16 or 20. The universe decided I would survive this long and will decide when I die. I am a miracle according to one TED speaker. What were the chances of my parent’s meeting, of my particular DNA combination, of my birth on that particular day. Of me being born in London. Of me being kind and graceful and determined. Pretty slim. I am indeed a miracle. And so my two babies are equally miraculous gifts. Their idiot father a mere chance donor of DNA.  We three are a wonder to behold. 

I’ll take the essence of who I was into the future with me but essentially I’m packing light. I’ve got enough baggage to sort through. Anyway back to TED. I’m going to try and revisit those talks that were most helpful. I’m going to write a little mini essay on each one so that I begin to apply those learned life lessons to my life. 

Advertisements
Standard

Free writing…a little something written in July

Here take my hand child
Don’t be afraid
Don’t gaze up at me suspicious
Don’t you recognise my face?

Think, think child. See me.
Don’t you know my name?
I was there when you were born child
You and I are the same

I saw you when you were lonely
Cried when I found you in pain
Got you up in the morning
Made you catch your train

Watched you clean up the mess
Again and again and again
I rubbed your brow when you were sleeping
Felt you going insane.
From listening over and over
To the same tired refrain.

Not to worry I am here now
No child don’t you fret
Your cheeks will dry in time child
Your path is not set

I’ve always been beside you
Even when all seemed lost
Saw you holding an abacus
When you were counting the costs

Come home to me baby
I’ve always been here
It’s time for a new chapter
It’s time to shift up a gear

Let’s face the future together
Let’s go to the moon and back
Let’s compose a new beginning
Lets mix a brand new track

I’ll step up to do the vocals
You can hop onto the decks
It’s time to surrender to the music
And let life take care of the rest.

Standard

Step on me. Part II

In the 90s my eclectic taste in music continued but soul, hip hop and R&B became my staple. Mary J Blige’s What’s the 411? Snoop Dog’s Doggystyle. Joe’s Everything. I remember walking around the school playground with the crew, in-ear headphones shared between two. Tevin Campbell singing teenage love songs and long sighs over unrequited affections.

In college, after the braces came off, I embraced the club scene and partied as hard as I studied to The Fugees, BlackStreet, Faith Evans, Mariah ‘bad girl’ Carey, Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, The Notorious B.I.G. and others.

And then there was Jungle. Drum and base spoke through vibrations. Moved the body in a trance. The noise was an exorcism and I danced all night long.

Then neo soul arrived. Love Jones played fresh. I fell in love with Cassandra Williams and her Tupelo Honey became my lullaby.

Then, A levels over with I got on a plane across the Atlantic where an unexpected love, the one who I choose to get the deed over with, taught me about Jazz over a long fiery summer in New York. At last I was to have my Paula Danziger Remember Me to Harold Square romance years after first reading that novel.

I was schooled in the works of his favourite pianist South African Abdullah Ibrahim and, amongst others, Monk, Coltrane and Davis. And also a lesser know singer Sathima Bea Benjamin whose rendition of standards like A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square made the world disappear as we kissed and found each other in the darkness.

The following summer I made the same journey across the ocean and found other distractions. I see myself kissing a boy in the rain after a movie. Taking the subway to meet a guy in Colney Island. Waiting to meet Maxwell so he could sign my CD and I could take his picture at a record store in Times Square. The queue to him snaked and looped up down and around the building. New friends were made in the line. Afterwards over a late night pizza we came together and departed never to meet again. Life was full of possibility. I was fearless. And youth was delicious: I can still taste its sweet tangy zest on my tongue now.

Then I returned to London town where the intense sex and intoxicating bond between Deluded Dick and I began to hypnotise me. In the weeks before we parted to start our degrees love secretly seeped into my veins and tainted the blood that coursed throughout my body.

For the next 15 years music receded as life with a porn addicted drug taking drunk came into the fore. By the time we spilt my Spotify playlist seemed to be looking back at tracks rather than listening to the tunes of the present.

When I found myself stuck to the pavement struck down with grief, I summoned the same resolve that had helped me endure the marriage. Between tears that rocked and shook me. Made me as empty and as hollow and as light as the shell of a ground nut. Between the waves of sadness I danced. And danced. And sang and screamed lyrics to myself and to my children so that life became a karaoke disco. My playlist included: Janelle Monae (basically everything but mostly stuff from her current album), Katy Perry (Roar), K. Michelle (Can’t Raise a Man), Ciara (I’m Out), Rita Ora (album ORA Delux), Lorde (album Pure Heroine), AlunaGeorge (Attracting Flies and album Body Music). Lots of afrobeats. Lots of house and especially stuff released by Rinse FM. Some of my favourite tracks: Music Box (Royal T), Zinc (Goin In), P Money (Shutting Down), Brackles (Chasing Crazy, Go Ahead, Too Much, DPMO), Mapei (Don’t Wait).

Out of all of these it was Roar by Katy Perry that I would sing at bath time to my sons, though more so to myself. It spoke of me and was a call to overcome bullshit. To continue to be the woman I had always been and to not let some fool fool guy crush me. I sang about a lioness to my cubs and we roared together laughing and powerful. I was renewed.

Music has been a solace and an inspiration. It has and continues to heal me. I will not be stepped on any more. The creators will never know me but daily I thank them for their lessons and their gifts.

Standard

How to: get on with life when your ex is a dick

You’ve managed to emerge out of the watery abyss, dab some concealer under each shadowy carrier bag and wave the magical mascara wand somewhere near each eye. You’ve set up an emergency ‘I ain’t going out like that’ social life to fill every other weekend and now it’s time to step it up. From the moment the kids are picked up to the second before they are due to return you make sure you are out, busy, occupied. It’s tight but… necessary. And it’s all going well except for the whiney texts, the ‘I’ve got to bring them back early’, the late pick ups and cancellations. But you don’t get involved. There will be no shouting or name calling. No loss of dignity after navigating your bad ass around the break up from hell.

You see, they just want to control you. Your body. Your mind. Where you go. They want to control your ability to go on living. Well fuck them. Stick to the routine. They want to bring your babies home early? You are not at home. They arrive late to collect them? Just open the door and kiss the kids goodbye. The children are complaining because they don’t like going to their papa? Hear them out and send them on their way. Daddio gives them a bag each of chuppa chupes just before bedtme? You confiscate with a smile. They come home looking like extras out of Oliver Twist? Strip the child, bin the clothes and bathe them good and proper.

Surrender to being a solid granite parent. A parent of love and consistency. But do not sacrifice your sanity and precious time because the other parent is still trying to use you to pick up their pieces. Your child’s safety and welfare are the only things that should spur you into becoming the human embodiment of Krakatoa because of course nothing can stop you protecting the life that you carried and created. But don’t sweat the small stuff. Sure it’s going to be hard on your little ones but they’ll grow stronger. We’re all going to get a few scrapes and bruises along the way but most superficial scars WILL fade. A new life has to be forged in the flames so don’t let your ex extinguish your fire. Be organised. Be firm. Be brave. You are hot right now.

Standard