Sunday, December 19, 2010

You Are HERE

Everybody wants to be somebody to someone, to something, to everyone...Everybody wants a reason to be here on this earth.

Some of us believe that there are a select few destined to make monumental changes that affect humanity. Unfortunately, not everyone is destined to make a super-human impact on the world as a whole.

Everyone cannot be Superman.

We are not all built with the temperance of Gandhi.

Even at our most sinister, we cannot all embody the wrath of Hitler.

It is within our quiet of our daily lives that the biggest impacts can be made. Similar to the butterfly effect theory, we exist within the same manner. A subtle gesture of kindness or an ignorant action of seemingly harmless carelessness can set off a reaction larger than what you've ever imagined.

You are here. Make the most of it. Be conscious of your power...as insignificant as it may seem to you and others, the fact that you are HERE gives you the strength of a titan.


How Claymation Satan Made me Think..



I suppose the word "Existential" and the phrase "Youth Programming" are relatively contradictory terms. 


Recently, I stumbled across this old clip from a 1985 claymation feature entitled "The Adventures of Mark Twain". In a nutshell, the plot basically navigates through several existential journeys, weaving its way through the fibers of Christian doctrines. The concept of heaven, creationism and the meaning of humanity as a whole are questioned throughout the film. Mark Twain is the Captain of the ship and Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher are the passenger/students, poised in curiosity as our vessels, seeking truth through the eyes of a child. Upon release and  due to public outcry, the film was banned from airing on many television channels across the country out of fear that the subject matter would taint the minds of children.


Needless to say, watching this clip inspired me to watch the entire film. Watching the film inspired me to question the entertainment that is offered to our kids. If we can saturate our kids with Jesus-praising vegetables, sexual innuendo, violence and consumerism, why can't we give them the option of critical thinking? Every media outlet with their claws in the "youth market" aka our kids, binds the mental development of our children by telling them what to do, how to think and how to feel. I know I'm not saying anything new...


As creepy as this clip is, I appreciate it. I appreciate the fact that it is scary and it cuts against the grain of what is taught. If it raises questions in the mind of this adult and inspires a blog post, imagine what it can do for children. We can turn off our televisions and read with our kids, which most of us should be doing, and build discussions leading to critical thinking. However, there's nothing wrong with the moving image. It's a great educational tool and particularly helpful if it's poignant and relevant.


With all that being said, let's bring back thoughtful entertainment to our kids. It doesn't have to be about Satan or destruction all the time, but we should move forward in creating and supporting thought provoking programs for our children. Why do we permit idiotic television and cinema to become entertainment cornerstones in our children's childhood memories? Are we trying to shield our kids from the inevitable truths they'll have to face (which can be ugly and very frightening) or are we just as asinine? Perhaps its a combination of the two, but the latter speaks a harsh truth, doesn't it?


...After all, someone pays for the cable and puts shows like "Dancing with the Stars" and "Meet the Kardashians" within the highest viewer ratings...and it ain't the kids.


Enjoy the clip.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Poetry Moment: At0miC L0vE - by kelly a. abel

My Love is a Weapon of Mass Destruction. Treat it as such...


It must remain concealed from the likes of thieves, enemies, spies - the fallible...

Who wish to harness her power for the sake of selfish causes like winning personal wars and inner battles...


My Love is a Weapon of Mass Destruction.


When present and diffused, she still lingers heavy as a threat, this complex creation...

Making leaders of the world cower and fall to their knees at the possibility of her devastation....


Treat it as such.


She is hidden under ground, beneath the iron fortress of a clandestine sect...

Giving the responsibility to subdue the beast and spare the world...


Ignited by a countdown from ten to one, a traitor within pushes buttons...

The world anticipates a global decimation, hands in prayer to be the celestial chosen...

At zero, the world takes a deep breath and bears witness to her magnificent implosion...


My Love is Like a Weapon of Mass Destruction. Treat it as Such...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Delicious Randomness: Is Sesame Street in Brooklyn?

Just where is Sesame Street?

I think it's in Brooklyn.

I'm leading towards Brooklyn for several reasons as follows:

1. If you proceed South down either Flatbush Avenue or Ocean Parkway towards Midwood, Canarsie and Sheepshead Bay, the streets are named after letters. Avenue T, Avenue Q, Avenue R etc. Now, I know that the East Village in Manhattan has Avenue's A through Avenue D, but the Architecture is more or less pre-war New York City Tenement-Style Multi-unit dwellings. Although, Oscar the Grouch could easily mesh in with the dumpster/toilet culture of the area...particularly in the seventies. Which leads me to reason number two:


2. Brooklyn is known for its dutch inspired row homes known as Brownstones. 123 Sesame Street is in fact, a Brownstone owned by Gordon and Olivia. Although you can find variations of a Brownstone home in just about any borough in New York City, I would say, the infamous Sesame Street Brownstone stoop has design aesthetics to brownstones seen specifically in Manhattan and Brooklyn. While 123 Sesame Street could easily blend into a West Village, Harlem or Upper West Side block, there is another factor that leads me to believe that Sesame Street is in Brooklyn:

3. Geographic Comparative: Sesame Street has a very unique layout uncommonly seen in most boroughs. It's kind of a cul-de-sac. And, it only has three buildings: 123 Sesame Street, Hooper's Store and Maria and Luis's Fix-it Shop. Upon research, Sesame Street also has a laundry mat, but I have yet to find a photograph or video of any muppets entering and exiting one. I also didn't try that hard to find one. Anyway, there is no cross-street and I'm not sure if there is a way in or a way out of Sesame Street. I've seen quite a few no-man zones like that in Brooklyn. "How the eff did I end up on this 'block'," Is something that I have mumbled many times to myself. Yes, I'm convinced that Brooklyn  has strategically placed vortexes in certain areas that sucks you into blocks that no one even knew existed. I believe Sesame Street is one of those Blocks.

4. Finally, the residents. Brooklyn is quite possibly one of the most culturally eclectic neighborhoods in New York City. It attracts residents from all over the world. Because Brooklyn was and is within the process of gentrification, many neighborhoods are rapidly becoming more culturally diverse. It's also very popular and trendy among homosexuals. (ie, Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Snuffy and Bob). There is also a zoo located in Brooklyn that Ol' Dirty Bastard spoke fondly of (R.I.P.). The Zoo is located in Prospect Park and I'd venture to guess, Big Baby Jesus wasn't talking about goats and cubs or whatever they have caged up over there. Anywho, that would explain why there are so many animals living on Sesame Street. I'm assuming these animals got sucked through the vortex I spoke of before and got stuck on Sesame Street, learned to speak and domesticated themselves enough to rent apartments. Now, people assume that Brooklyn has some pretty rough and hardcore residents. So, the sunny dispositions of the characters might not match my theory. I almost gave up until I found this photograph:

Don't Sleep on Sesame Street....Just Sayin.


I now leave you with the song my inner child won't stop singing. You can also blame this video for inspiring this nonsense that I probably wasted too much time putting together. Godspeed, yall*

Friday, November 5, 2010

Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction, (excerpt from my novel, The Gravity of Me, available April, 2011)

By
kelly a. abel


People will not worship what they can see and touch. They will, however, give credence to a dream, for a dream is hope. A dream is a wish. A dream is an infinite kingdom where possibility reigns fantastic.

One day, I'll be a story of a trial you will share with your son the night before his wedding. You will tell him of a moment of uncertainty that clouded your judgment and almost made you give up everything. You will look lovingly at your wife from an obstructed view of the kitchen, watching her dart in and out view, busy with whatever.

I am the story shared between girlfriends, the urban legend. I am the written lesson of how to crash and burn with grace. My story, so lacking credibility and rich in sensationalism that they just can't resist turning each page to see what happens next.

I am the obituary written by unknown hands that my parents read blindly. A small paragraph on an antique- beige textured card with a photograph of my smiling, youthful face on the cover. It is the face they remember, the face they want to remember. They read the paragraph, generalizing and non-descriptive in content and they cry quietly in mourning over the release of a burden. They will never read the entire story.

One day, I'll be placed on the top shelf of a bookcase in your den. Covered with dust over time and left untouched and never to be revisited. You'll glance up and see my spine, leather cracked and gold embossing faded. You won't even think of the story, but you will think about how it's been a while since the cobwebs have been cleared from that top shelf. 


You will continue to move forward with your life at the pace of snail, sleepy and slow and abandoning dreams for the safety and certainty of reality. 

Still, you find yourself on your knees, beside your bed, hands prayerful, in reverence of this. Of me.

I am and I will always be nothing more than a story you tell. I am fiction at its best and tragedy at its worst. I am never, ever seen as a biographical text or a historic account of a moment that should never be forgotten. I am the Cat in the Hat. I am the scribing of youth and discovery. I am The Lord of The Rings. I am truth swallowed by fantastic beasts and heroes and lore. I am a parable within the cannon that binds the living.

I am not real. I never, ever was...not to you, not to anyone.  I am just text on paper, reading as different stories to different sets of eyes. I am a glossy, three- dollar porn rag. I am the one-thousand paged horror novel, creating phobias within your subconscious. I am a Victorian romance, unbelievable and daft to the modern reader. I am a science fiction masterpiece, a legend trailblazing between planets and stars.

I am epic.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

No Slaughterhouse for This Bovine Heffa, jusssst sayin...

I HATE being out of shape.

Ever since I had these kids, I've put dancing aside. I have not been able to commit to not one single, solitary fitness regimen since my life now belongs to little people. Between professional development, education and child rearing...not to mention living in my head and fighting insecurities, I have yet to find a place in my life to incorporate a regular healthy, physical activity.

I feel totally unfulfilled.

But...it's not like I haven't made a few attempts. Let's run down the list and see what I have tried:

Yoga and fitness videos. NO. I feel like an idiot sitting in front of a television while some fitness cyborg tries to tell me how to do a proper downward facing dog.

Running: Ha! Next.

Competitive Cycling: Okay, I bought a bike for my birthday and haven't ridden it yet. Not because I'm lazy, but because every attempt I make at peddling around my neighborhood, my plans are quickly thwarted by a psychotic Jamaican in a BMW X5 haphazardly missing my rear tire by a millimeter. I want to lose a few pounds, but not if that means expelling my organs onto concrete. Road Kill fitness...not so much my steez.

The Gym: There is no end goal. I get on the treadmill and I run. And run. But the wall in front of me isn't getting any closer and the man licking his lips next to me is still by my side, no matter how fast I try to run from him. Fitness Centers are like Hamster Wheels for people. Not feeling it so much...

The Shake Weight and The Thighmaster: Don't even ask... but, I do appreciate the free expandable closet organizers they sent (retail value 9.00 each).

_________________________________________________________________________________

So, I'm thinking that I need a regimen that will incorporate stress relief, anger management and fitness along with a tangible goal or a prize. Perhaps martial arts or maybe I should take a dance class. Hmmm...

Perhaps a Capoeira class might be just the ticket I need to fly into fitness. Hilarious. The thought of me slinging my cellulite about in a roundhouse kick circle dance is funny and disturbing. Haha..I should videotape this...

Any other ideas out there? Post a comment and give me your two cents on how I can pave my road to fitness and tell me what works or has worked for you...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Album Review: Fold It! Mold It!, Random Recipe

Soooo...


Here's my first attempt in music criticism. I've always been a bit of a snob when it comes to my listening pleasure and disdain. Why not write about it?




Now, when it comes to finding honest and relevant music, I find myself digging deeper into the crates these days. In an era where anyone can buy pro-tools and even make beats on their cell phones, modern music has become cluttered with half-assed noise on constant rotation. 


Last Thursday, I had the honor and the pleasure of meeting two phenomenal women, Fab and Fran, that hail from Montreal at Arlene's Grocery. I missed their set, but they blessed me with an impromptu sidewalk private show on Stanton Street. See my videos for Random Recipe in previous posts to see their energy in full force. Ignore my "drunken swagger". Shout out to the Sound Surgeon... Ah, I owe you pizza and shots.


Anyway, the next day, I downloaded their album "Fold It! Mold It!":




Random Recipe is comprised of a dynamic foursome including band members Fran (Vocals and Guitar), Fab (EmCee and BeatBox), Vincent (keys/guitar)  and Liu-Kong (percussion). The combination of live instruments, raw Beat-Boxing and Fran's earthy vocals are engaging and definitely ear candy. Fab's flow roughens the edge of their sound with her French-Fried delivery on the microphone without distracting from the blended ranges of sound that makes Random Recipe an absolutely charming listening experience.


The album is seamless and can be easily enjoyed from beginning to end. The tracks are far from redundant and each song provides a different dimension to sound exploration without killing the floating vibe that Random Recipe's sound has undeniably targeted. "Without You" has a light airy, whimsical bounce and still retains its slickness and cool. "Dangerous" is probably one of the more aggressive tracks with its drum and bass explosive rhythmics, blowing up the track through beat-boxing and percussion. However, the song gets pulled back into that easy cool again with a mellowed out down-break on Fab's flow.


All in all, Random Recipe is definitely chock full of the right ingredients, making the perfect dish to satisfy your ears. One part grrrl, one part Hip Hop, one part fresh and all the way hot.




This novice critic gives Random Recipe 5 out of 5 Red Pills. (That's a good thing)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who the @^#& are YOU !?

Sooo...
1512 Boulevard Baby Designs, Cafe Press


I recently installed a stat counter on my blog to get a better understanding of my audience. Almost a thousand visits and very few comments are left on my page. I got a little weirded out by the idea that my thoughts are on display to...everyone and anyone...and not too many people are responding to my blog site directly. Although, I do appreciate the emails that I have received from those of you sharing your experiences with depression and anti-depressants. That was cool.








googlebot logo by Tyler Jordan, eVisibility
While my counter isn't specific enough to list names and addresses, I have a general idea of whether or not my blog is being read by human beings. I can assume that my readers from the Virgin Islands, Slovenia, Denmark, Brazil and the States are actual people based on certain statistics and clearly defined criteria.


However, what I found alarming was the googlebot, OneRiot and opensocial traffic spiders that crawl across my page daily, monitoring my usage and the usage of my audience. What it's doing, in fact, is indexing my entries and updating google's searchable database. It's automatic and invisible and really frightening as hell that technology like this is so intrusive and unseen. Documenting, documenting everything we do....


A big part of me wants to shut my blog down and disconnect from the world wide web. The concept of being constantly, automatically monitored by big brother or Robocop or whatever makes me feel, dare I say, a bit violated.


There is that small part of me that actually believes that my drivel is helping someone out there, so...I kind of feel responsible to continue saying whatever it is I have to say.


From 123greetings.com
Maintaining humanity at this point, in this era where love, relationships and friendships are wrapped in wires, is getting more and more surreal by the day. Can I really throw caution to the wind and naively step into this World Wide Webernet and attempt to display humanity even though this paranoia of a watchful eye constantly lingers overhead?


I don't know...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

At the end of the day...

At the end of the day, I love you and that love is never, ever going to go away. Your Happiness is paramount.


Short Entry. Big deal...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

On Drunken Sex

On Drunken Sex

^Interesting Blog - click the link

The dilemma...

When the lines are blurry... If one side can blame it on the alcohol and claim victim...can the other counter the claim and say he is not the attacker?

In the UK, the courts are passing legislation stating that a woman who has sex with someone while drunk can be considered a rape victim because she's not in her right mind to engage in consensual sex.

See article here:

MEN FACE JAIL TIME FOR SEX WITH DRUNK WOMEN


So what do you think? If a sober man would not commit an act like rape or date rape, but the same man in an intoxicated state would because his sensibilities are impaired, should he get a pass?

If a woman calls rape even though she was drunk and doesn't say no, does it make determining clearly defined cases of rape more challenging by blurring the boundaries of non-consensual sex?

Hmmm.... food for thought.

Either way, if no is said by one party even once, it IS rape. No way around that...

Share your thoughts....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Art Break: Pearl Necklace Series (maybe)


This is me playing around with a concept for a series "Pearl Necklace"...
Still haven't found the right look I want to project. Anyone out there in the NY Metro interested in modeling, drop a line. It's time for some fine art photography. 

*****edit to add*****

If interested in modeling, please note full body shots and full or partial nudity might be required to realize the vision. Male and female models. Don't be skurrred.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Open Doors

I see a world out there...all for you to shape and nurture. A world for you to build.... I peek through doors and I see your throne, empty and waiting for you to believe in yourself enough to rule...enough to claim your destiny.

So many things are happening and the world spins solely in favor of YOU. 

Grab it. Lay your heavy hand upon the axis and set your own cycle.

So many things are coming in order and in line and the only thing that's missing is you.

Wake up.

Claim it.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Randomness

I'd like to punch you in the necktie.

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my time the most.

Al dente spaghetti is for suckers. Make mine well done.

Heyyy...There's nothing musical about these chairs.

Instead of quietly leaving a tip for my waitress, I hand her my tip and say, "keep the change..ya filthy animal" - Angels with Dirty Faces, Gangster Johnny

Next time you see a lady with a big booty, she might be wearing an adult diaper...and it might be full.

Urine is a smell that you'll never forget.

Refund is "dunfeR" spelt backwards.

Fellas, next time you want to take a lady home, instead of buying drinks and making stupid conversation just say, "I'm the star of the show! Me! This is my big dick and I wanna fuck right now!" - Dirk Diggler, Boogie Nights. I promise, something WILL happen.


If a tree falls on an ex-boyfriend in a forest with no one around...would anybody give a shit?

No, not manslaughter your honor...I'm just making up for an abortion that should have happened 46 years ago. His mother would thank me.

Randomness... 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Writing on the Wall: A Performance Review/Epiphany

Last night, I photographed the “Why did I get Married Live, Vol. Too” event in downtown Brooklyn. I didn’t know what to expect and I was a little bit afraid that, given the title, the show was going to be covered in Tyler Perry’s stink.

To my surprise, the show was actually quite innovative. It was a fusion of spoken word-smithery, comedy and music with a live panel of married guests to answer questions about…well, marriage. Sustaining a marriage, to be exact. The theme that linked every artist that graced the stage was love. Every aspect of love. Self love, soul love, real love, star-crossed love, lusty love..in a sincere manner. I was impressed with how each artist personalized their experiences with love, through various modes of microphone art, painting pictures of what love means through their own visions and through their individual hearts.

My overall impression was the production was relevant, sexy, relaxed, candid and honest. Above all, it was needed and will be needed to promote its message of love, Black love and marriage, to carry on throughout the community. Brooklyn and beyond.

This isn’t really a review of the show. This is an epiphany. This is a message.

As usual, when the topic of marriage arises, I find myself thinking about my own failed relationship with my ex and thinking about my experience with falling in love with someone else that I could never marry. Guilt, failure, anger…the matrimonial thing often left a bad taste in my mouth. That bad taste, the creeping bile from stomach, curling the walls of my esophagus, choking me, gagging me…leaving my mouth foul and bitter.

With every engagement announcement in the mail, with every conversation with a married couple that speaks only in terms of “we”, with every indication that everyone else in the world is falling in love and being caught…everyone but me, I felt myself shrink smaller and smaller. Bitter and small, I found myself forcing comparisons on married women and me. “I’m hotter, so why not?” or “She’s sooo mean, why did he?” or “Why? Just why?”

At the end of the day, it didn’t matter because at the end of the day, as desirable to an extent as I am, I was still alone.

Not something enough. Not something. Not the marrying kind…I guess.

But last night, after seeing that show…

I woke up this morning renewed from heartache. I mean, I still hurt, but I felt hope after light was revealed to me.

The light revealed this message, “Stop looking at these encounters with love as a failure or as an attack. Start looking at it for what it is: knowing what you want, need and knowing you’re on the road to the right thing. THIS IS A TIME OF SELF DISCOVERY AND HONESTY. Keep your eyes open and see the writing on the wall. It spells love and it is for you.”

Photographing weddings, seeing couples in love and experiencing love for myself has shown me what I want and need out of the right person. I want monogamy, I want to build and share my life with someone that fits. I want to enhance someone and I want him to do the same for me. I want to hold him down and hold my head up in the process. I wanna be held down and feel safe and NOT held down and feel oppressed. I want love at its purest to wash over me and secure me.

I want these things. I deserve them and so do you.

A bad relationship or a bad marriage shouldn’t make you bitter about love forever. Take that experience as an education in self discovery and understanding what it is that you want and deserve. Instead of harping on how foul the person is who broke your heart, be honest with yourself and see how you’ve failed the relationship. After all, you can’t change anyone but yourself. So, why exert the energy mulling over how someone should change...especially when the changes you want that person to make are only a reflection of a damaged you? That person’s issues should be their own battle.  Your only focus should be what you can do to improve yourself. I think all of this heartache from the past is nothing more than preparation for the real thing to come along.

Head up, eyes open…the writing is on the wall. Read it.

I think that’s all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why I Will NEVER Have (a) "Sex On The Beach"

Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Orange Juice and Cranberry Juice. Seems harmless enough…right?


34 years and three months ago, an 18 year old “woman” and a 21 year old “man” went to Jones Beach with a few friends after a community fashion show. There, on the sands of that Long Island, NY beach, they walked hand in hand, admiring the cloudless, starry night. Gazing lovingly into each others’ eyes, they could no longer resist the urge to kiss, to touch and lay in the sand. Together, their bodies exchanged souls and they made passionate love under a full, blue moon.

At least that’s how I’d like to think I was conceived.

When I was 10, in an un-medicated, bipolar high, my father told me the story of how I came to be.

“Yeah…so, after I put on my fashion show at the Lady Eye Lounge, you know, when I had my Players Line, yeah we all went to Jones Beach. Your mom modeled for me and she helped sew the clothes for the show. She was real, real talented and she had a BOOTY on HER!! So, yeah..you know how it is ..a little drinkin’, a little smokin’ some herb and me and your mother, you know…Ah-hah-ah-hah-hah..ohh man…”

My face, as pale as chocolate skin can get I’m sure,  was frozen with horror.

“Oh,” I responded. “Were you guys in love?”

“Love? Naaaah it wasn’t even like that. We were friends. I loved her like you love your friends, you know? She might have loved me, though. I loved your sister’s mother like that.”

What’s that sound? Oh, it’s a sound I’d come to know several more times in my life. It is the sound of my heart cracking under the pressure of disappointment.

“Why are you crying, Kelly? Oh you don’t like that? Well that’s just how it was in the seventies. Free love and all ‘a that. Not like Leave it To Beaver or one of those things. Ah-hah-ah-hah-ah-hah!”

I’m sure he went on to talk about something else, but at that moment, I formed a new belief that I wasn’t special and wasn’t worthy because my parents were only out having a good time. That conversation marked the day that my first illusion was shattered. I was not a product of love between two people. A little bit of my fire went out. I’ll never forget that.

“Can I be entitled to love, if I wasn’t made from love?”

That question stuck with me for years. More years than I’d care to share. I will say, a lot of failed relationships spawned from that question while I tried to search for the answer.

A few pumps and a dump on the shores of Jones beach. Roach clip firmly pressed between his lips. Her eyes bloodshot and rolling backwards into her skull. Ashes from the clip floating onto her forehead with each thrust.

He didn’t pull out fast enough or he was too high to bother. Or he just didn’t care. And she, high and silly allowing lust to disguise itself as love. Would they remember the next day?

Nine and half months later I am born into drama. His love, my younger sister’s mother was 3 months pregnant with my sister. Throughout the entire pregnancy, he denied me and called my mother a whore. He tried to pin her pregnancy on every man he knew.

Funny, I look exactly like him. The universe is clever and cruel at once.

When he saw me, he knew I was his and he loved me. He was a good dad outside of the physical and emotional abuse. But, that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about how parents fuck up and when they cannot reconcile the damage they have done to you. Whether they’re incapable of it because they have mental problems or they’re just oblivious or they think you’re overreacting, you might face the day that you’ll never find closure from your father or mother or both.


Rewind:

I am growing up and I see my father less as his illness makes him incapable of caring for me. An illness I didn’t know he had until I was 19. No one told me. I am growing up believing that I was the cause of his divorce from my sister's mother. I am growing up and my mother gets married when I am 12 and I am forsaken for her new husband. I am raised by my conservative, catholic, southern grandparents who have no idea of what to do with a kid like me…artsy and too inquisitive. I am left to figure shit out on my own…never working through the hurt, just knowing that I have to navigate my way through life the best that I can until I one day die.

I am the product of a sandy pump and dump. I am dumped and left to my own vices.


I am growing up in New York City feeling abandoned by my parents who didn't love each other enough to make me. 

Fast Forward:

I am 33 and I’m dealing with it. I’m still here. I could spend another 10 years crying over how they did me wrong and continue to disappoint me regularly, but I’d rather not. One day, I made the effort to let the past stay in the past and be accountable for my present and my future. I realize the damage, now how do I fix it? ME? No one else. Unfortunately, that means I might have to distance myself or even disown them if needed to continue with my healing process.

So yeah, reminiscing about the “good ol’ days” can bring guttural, uncontrollable sobbing out of me. It hurts, fuck, I’m human. But, I can leave that moment there and carry on.

When you realize how much there is to look forward to, you don’t want anything to taint the possibilities of tomorrow. Especially your past.

I am 33. I go to a party and a man brings me a drink. It’s a Sex on the Beach and I turn him down.
“No, thank you,” I smile politely. “I’m good.”

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cure my depression with Suicide Pills? Whaaaa

I'm so fuckin sad.
My therapist suggested antidepressants. I told him that I would consider it, even though in the back of mind I screamed, "Hell the fuck no!!!!" I have to admit, the idea of a little pill taking away the black vignette framing everything I see and feel or try to feel had its appeal. The ability to enjoy life...who wouldn't want that? I can relate to the people on the Wellbutrin commercial, sitting on a Lay-Z-Boy recliner and staring blankly out of a picture window. I want to be like the second half of the commercial. I want to be like the people running on the beach and smiling and playing frisbee with horseshoe crabs or whatever. 


Ahh! I'm so fuckin HAPPY
I want to cry uncontrollably, take a blue pill and fly a kite with unbridled glee all within the course of 20 seconds...just like the Wellbutrin commercial.


Unfortunately, even happiness in a pill comes with a heavy price. A lethal price at that.




I mentioned my dilemma to a friend of mine. To take or not to take, that being the question. She said no. Not only did her experience with antidepressants make her unstable and ill, but they might have caused irreparable brain damage. She says she's not the person she used to be and doesn't even know who she is half of the time. A pill meant to manage her emotions has left her in a perpetual state of emotional delirium. 


"I wish I never started them, Kelly."


So, what does her doctor do about it? Switches medication...


I took it upon myself to do some research on anti-depressants and I would like to share it with you guys. So far, I've learned that most antidepressants in the United States are approved by the FDA and released to the public haphazardly. Even if a study concludes a high incidence of physical and emotional damage or even death, the FDA will approve the drug contingent upon notifying the CONSUMER public. I think the only criteria the FDA has is to put a warning label somewhere on the product and mumble side effects of the drug on commercials. Yeah... We all know the FDA is full of crap. We know the FDA is padded by lobbyists and Pharmaceutical Companies trying to maintain a business. I know I'm not shedding any new light here.
Rainbows mean Safe and Happy.


What is alarming is the resulting mania that occurs after prolonged usage of antidepressants and the high incidence of suicide among patients treated with antidepressants.


However, if anyone out there is considering taking antidepressants, are on antidepressants or know someone who might find this information handy, I've pasted a few links with some information about antidepressant recalls.


On a side note, I am disturbed about how many doctors are offering antidepressants to children. I'm sorry, don't kids need to develop emotionally as well as physically before we start doling out pills?


Here are a few links:


http://www.prozactruth.com/article_british_ban_spur_fda.htm
http://www.drugrecalls.com/antidepressants.html
http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/antidepressants-ADF.htm
http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/health_articles/antidepressants_for_children_and_adolescents_dangerous_medicine


If anyone has anymore information or links, please feel free to share within the comment box section of my blog.


What is depression? Is it simply the blues or is it a chemical imbalance in the brain? Personally, I think its the modern times in which we live. Think about it. Most of us a born into living up to an unnatural expectation. The pressure to be this kind of woman or man in an environment that is devoid of nature or simplicity can be emotionally, mentally and physically crippling. We place restrictions upon each other...who to worship, how to make a living, how to appear. Have a family! Have a career! This car means you're somebody! Get a better home! You're carrying the wrong purse! You're too fat! You're too ugly! When the world is screaming at individuals to go against the grain of your heart's desire and who you are and how you look, its no wonder people are sitting in cubicles, staring blankly at a make-shift wall, catatonic and blue.


We could blame the media, but it is us that perpetuates unrealistic and unnatural standards. We need to let it go for everyone's health.


If you're feeling depressed, try to engage in fitness and spirituality. My friend that I mentioned earlier recommends both. Yoga is a great choice because you are allotting introspective time to center your mind with your body and spirit and you feel an instant sense of renewal. Take up a sport. Go for a run. Get your serotonin levels up naturally. Ya like Jesus? Go back to church. Do what you have to do, just know that there are options out there before you commit to taking the suicide pill.


The hardest part is finding the motivation to be active and productive and make lifestyle changes. Perhaps a good friend, a family member or your partner could provide support by engaging in changes along with you.


Change what you put into your body. Many of the foods we consume are full of additives and toxins that give our bodies physical symptoms of depression. Detox your system and start fresh. If you drink alcohol or smoke (i'm working on that), it will greatly increase your depressed states as well.


Here are some links to holistic alternatives to fighting depression:


http://www.drpodell.org/alternative_treatments_for_depression.shtml 
http://www.mnwelldir.org/docs/mental_health/depression.htm
http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/problems/depression_tips.html


Not being who you are, not living the existence you heart desires, reprimanded by society's standards for the ideal, hampered by childhood issues and highlighted by self image disdain...meanwhile we eat shit, drink shit and get lazier every day...stewing in the bile juices of our own discord and discontent. No wonder Depression is becoming an American Epidemic. Depression is our new status quo.


Identify what hurts, talk to someone you love and trust or pay a therapist, write it down or draw it, knit it into a hat. Eat better, play harder and breathe deeply. You can get through this. Depression is a maze, but remember...you witnessed this maze being built. You know how to get out...


GodSPEEEEEED, yall.






Saturday, September 18, 2010

Remembering My Roots: Rediscovering Hip Hop



It’s been a journey. A dysfunctional relationship at best, this love affair between me and Hip Hop. No, not a love affair. That would be incestuous. I’m not going to get into cliché metaphors and analogies, personifying the 4 elements into the ideal partner or something. No, it’s already been done. I’m just going to tell you what went down between me and Hip Hop in the most lucid of terminology…family. I am a child of Hip Hop Culture.

Part I – Childhood


My earliest childhood memories are of custom leather pant suits, furs, Gucci velours and Bally shoes making appearances through clouds of smoke at parties in Boston-Secor Projects in the Bronx. The laughter and swearing was drowned out by the sounds of Kurtis Blow and Kool Moe Dee filling the room from grandma’s hi-fi. Uncle “so-and-so” will give us a dollar if we show him the new dance moves, so my sister and I do the worm or the snake. I want to do a windmill, but there isn’t enough room. I am hearing that Aunt "what’s-her-face” is dating a member of the Sugar Hill gang and I am somehow related to one of the founding members of Sugar Hill records, Sylvia Robinson. At least that’s what my birth father told me. He said a lot of things. Amidst the liquor, the smoke with the many different smells and the parade of animal skin fabrics around the room, I never knew who was related to me. The only thing that promised consistency was the bass-line and drum snare, the voice and the lyrics that rose from the record player every time we had a family function.

Realizing I was a true b-girl by the age of eight, I found a home and comfort within the culture of Hip Hop music. I remember walking the streets of the Northeast Bronx with my childhood friends in pursuit of an empty, refrigerator shipping box. Though a fridge box was ideal, we were small, so any sizeable cardboard box would do. Hector with his boom box, blasting Shawn Brown’s “The Rapping Duke” over and over again. The repetition of the “Da Ha,  Da-Haaa, Da-Ha-Ha, Da-Ha-Haaa” stuttering rhythmically through the speakers was the little drummer boy to our junior hip hop crew brigade. The hunt was on. The box was found on the corner of Bussing and Grace Avenue or behind the C-Town grocery store on LaConia Avenue. Our victory dance, a series of side-steps, waves and uprocks. Maybe a kickstep into a scissor glide.  Either way, we did celebrate.

That cardboard box, larger than all of us combined, found its way to our block by the grace of God or Grandmaster Flash or whoever you pray to before you close your eyes at night. That cardboard box, lost all of its dimension and original purpose for existing as 5 little kids stomped, tore and flattened the shit out of it to make it dance floor appropriate. You see, this is how we recycled trash in the eighties. Boxes became dance floors, plastic caps from quarter waters were transformed into game pieces for “Skelly”, crack vile caps were objects for scavenger hunts and old mattresses? Trampolines, of course!


I’m still a kid and it is still the eighties. I take the number 2 train to 125th street with my grandmother every day. The train station is splashed with illustrations of names and of cartoon characters that aren’t on TV and colors upon colors everywhere.  I am angered by the nerve of someone called “RJAY79” who insists on scrawling his ugly name with black paint all over some of the pretty pictures. I later learn that RJAY’s crime is called “buffing” and warrants a well deserved beat-down. The station reeks of urine and beer, but the pictures set the tone for the wonders about to follow anyway.



On the platform, I feel the rumbling of an oncoming train on the soles of my Kangaroos. It’s coming fast and here it is, barreling through the station. The forming winds from the speeding steel, taking my breath away and blowing my mind at once, there she is.  The mighty 2 train, the red train, now covered in bright colors with the name “RIZE” on every car. I think that writer was my favorite. His colors were always so bright and his hand at bubble lettering inspired me. The train door has stopped before me and  RIZE’s bubbled out name separates and allows us entry into this moving art museum.



The inside of the train car is similar to the train station: random pictures and words lacking cohesion because each piece sprayed comes from a different hand, a different mind, a different artist. I learn about Ronnie and why she’s a slut and someone has left her phone number for anyone that wishes to have a good time. Someone appears to be angry with me, because “FUCK YOU” is written about 25 times in black paint. There is a picture of a girl with big red lips and big boobies. There is a picture of a boy’s face with a huge hat and a crooked smile with a shortened line separating the top row of teeth from the bottom. Bubbles, Angles, Wild Style, cryptic for some and code for others. My mind was most certainly entertained on our 20 minute ride to 125th street.



Who knew, 8 years later, I would find myself running through the tunnels between 66th street and 72nd street trying to beat the train as I got my ups on a wall in the darkness? My one attempt at becoming a graff writer, I got my tag “KSeRA” on a subway tunnel wall. As electrifying as it was, I nearly shit my pants. Needless to say, I developed even more love and profound respect for our graff artist like RIZE, Lady Pink, SLAVE, KADE 198 and the many other Krylon soldiers that gave us the gift of color and gave us a voice during a time when New York City was otherwise very gray and very bleak.


Now, the subway tells you where you’re going with an automated voice announcing each station. Back in the day, a covered train spoke to you and told you where you needed to be. Corporate advertisements have replaced ghetto folk art.  A ride on the el was a journey. Now, it’s just a commute.





Stay tuned for Part II

Comment Q&A: Is there a musical culture that is deeply ingrained within you? Are you a child of Hip Hop? What are your fondest childhood memories? Share your experiences in the comment box, por favor.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why Houses Built on Marshes Sink: Love and Marriage PSA

This entry isn’t as much as a narrative as it is a PSA for Marriage.

…or maybe like some words from the wise.

Before you decide to make a commitment to any person and give your life to the union, make sure that you have realized yourself, who you are and what you want from this life as an individual.

If you go into a union looking to resolve issues from your past, more than likely, you’ll end up with someone that is a reflection of your pain. More than likely, that person will be the one to act as a foster parent to your neglected inner child.  I can see the appeal in it because I have experienced it. However, all that person ends up doing is crippling your growth into adulthood. Not intentionally, of course, but when the basis for your ideal partner stems from a pained void, more than likely, you’ll overlook other aspects of this person’s character. In time, when you’re ready to evolve into the next stage of your life, you’ll find yourself unsettled and outgrowing the relationship. Enter marital strife.

Above all, its unfair to the other person involved. While you’re allowing your spouse to spoon feed strained peas and Xanax to your id, your spouse could be missing out on someone out there who can embrace him or her fully. Instead, you have sucked this person into a life of licking your wounds and raising a child that will never, ever grow.

I married someone. We had two kids together and it seemed like it would make sense to tie the knot. However, our relationship was based on repairing our traumatic childhoods by correcting our parents’ mistakes and creating an ideal life for each other through our partnership and through our kids. Outside of Hip Hop, it turned out that was the only thing we had in common. We overlooked our different manners of expressing love and affection, our lack of communication skills and our inability to come to mutual understanding for years. Ultimately, the negative managed to override our perceived noble beginnings and everything we tried to create was destroyed.

See, you can’t build a home on top of an unstable foundation. If you try, your house will undoubtedly fall.

I lost so much valuable time and expended so much of my energy focusing on cultivating infertile soil.  If I loved myself enough to place that energy on myself, who knows what my life might be like right now. 

Blah to “what-if’s”! Looking back with regret just makes you more weak and susceptible to repeating mistakes.  Looking back creates a new obstacle for future growth. However, looking back and learning from your choices can give you herculean strength. Looking back and learning from your past is the key to developing a healthy adulthood.

I am here, life is new and I am on the road to self-realization and loving myself more and more every day. At one point, I thought I failed my kids by splitting up with their dad. However, I am respecting them more by showing them my capabilities as their mother on my on terms. They learn more from me when I can truly be me. In being honest with myself, I am honest with them and they learn the importance of being honest with themselves.


The importance of knowledge of self, self-realization and finding closure on your own terms is beneficial you and any future marriage plans. When you are right with yourself, you can clearly define your needs from a potential mate that will compliment a healthy you.

I believe that marriage under this kind of false pretense or false presentation of self contributes to the alarming divorce rates in this country. Unfortunately, love doesn’t fix everything. Makes you wonder…how can you truly commit love to another person if you’ve never learned to fully love and embrace yourself as an individual? How can you build and share a life with someone, if you haven’t yet learned to structure and uphold your own?

…just some thoughts.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Intra-Venus Love Lesson

So, I learned about love this year.

Thirty-three years on this planet and I finally learned what it means to love and be IN love.

Yes, I understand what it means to love my children, my mother and grandfather.

...but this love between lovers. I never knew what it meant until now.

The first moment that cupid's damned arrow pierces your aorta and bleeds you internally, causing you to lose all focus due to blood loss. In place of blood flow, the essence of your object of affection is injected into your veins and therein lies the need to be nourished by the person’s mere existence forever.

I get it. He or she becomes the current in which a new life force is carried.

And that’s all well and good when everything is happy and the feeling is mutual.  It’s sugar dandy when the object of your affection is also suffering from internal bleeding and has opened his or her veins to be nourished by you. It becomes realized that each of you have taken residence in each other’s core of being, flowing through limbs, and tissue and organs…especially the heart, Pooling and swirling within each chamber, warming that cherished muscle and forcing it to pulse and contract intensely when the mere thought of him or her crossed your mind.

The heat rises as he or she flows through your veins.  The body is on fire and radiates a warm, golden glow. Everyone can tell you’re in love. It’s written all over you. It’s written all over him…or her.

When the two of you kiss, the surrounding world pauses out of respect for the love the two of you have created.

If only it could last forever…

If you’re lucky, it will. If you’re like me, you just get hooked and strung out.

If you’re like me, you’ll find that he or she is nothing more than a glorified dime bag of smack.

The moment he or she splits, says adios. The moment he or she disappears, without even an illustration of a sad Basset hound with a caption that reads “Sowwy” or some cute shit like that, on a Hallmark E-Card awaiting you in your inbox the night you got stood up from what posed to be your last date….

Not that I would know anything about that…

Yeah, but the moment  he or she vanishes and leaves traces of their love within your veins, you experience the other side of love. The side that makes you cry until your eyes are bloated. It is the side that makes food taste like dead leaves and nauseates you. This is not your nourishment and your body rejects it. While you rest your head on that porcelain pillow in the bathroom, tears streaming, mouth tasting of vomit, stomach aching from hunger and nausea at once, you then realize how truly hooked you were on the guy…or girl.

Your friends will tell you that you’ll get over it. They will hate him or her for you every time a song comes on the radio that reminds you of him or her and yanks hysterical sobbing from the depths of your soul. They will make voo-doo dolls and curse his name for you, while you remain in love…still forgiving, still gracious still in wonderment of him...or her.

You will wake up one day and become productive after weeks or months of walking around your house in a Snuggy and watching true crime stories on basic cable. Ice Cream begins to taste good. You’ll try to accomplish simple things like bathing and putting gas in the tank of your car. More time will pass, and you’ll accomplish more things. Your career is going well and you’ve developed some semblance of a social life. You try to date, but every guy or girl ain’t even a blip on your love radar.

You will live your life without him or her and you will do great things, but he or she will always be there, doing a poorly coordinated tap dance LOUDLY, all throughout your brain. That horrible hoofing, giving you headaches and making it impossible to fully enjoy anything you achieve.

You were gutted. Guts exposed. Bled profusely and hooked on a drug.

But this is what’s interesting about love…and how you know its love…

Despite all of the insurmountable hurt and damage you have or you are enduring, you still love the shit out of him or her and you don’t want them to feel even an ounce of what you feel. As a matter of fact, if you knew he or she was hurting, you’d carry their pain on top of your own.

If he or she came to your doorstep and silently extended his or her hand to you, every moment of pain you’ve felt would dissolve in the heat rising from your veins again. 

Love is a maintainence of graciousness and forgiveness. Love is a ride through the hurt without giving up the ability to sincerely care for the one hurting you. Love is taking a Tyson right hook to the jaw if it means the best for the one you love.  Love is letting him or her go because that is what his or her life demands. Love is carrying the burden of hurt and never, ever ceasing to love despite its weight and agony.

At least that’s what I’ve learned so far…