I fell into a negative, or generally unfavourable mindset... lazy, anxious, depressed. Acknowledge it. Recognize it for what it is. Be in it. Let it in, but don't be its friend. Be a challenging host. Push it around a bit. Be playful with it. Indulge it. Indulge it. It won't go away if you don't at least let it in for coffee. Conversely, it won't stay if you are bugging it constantly with physical and mental exercise, positive thought, simple activity. I am realizing that it really doesn't take much, just a walk to a coffee shop or a park. It's as easy as that. Sometimes. Sometimes it will take a walk, workout, meditation, reading, several times over in a constant barrage of what you could call clarity. I think part of the reason why this feeling sank in comes from the simple realization that when I don't get stuff done, I feel like crap. This is where I get stuck a lot of the time unfortunately. It could stem from the fact that the consequences for inaction compound quicker than I can recover from it. It's funny; I think a lot of people would see my "situation", and what I have done and am doing with it, as good. But there are probably a lot of people, myself partially included, who would say that I'm not doing or haven't done enough. As a tough self-critic, I tend to lean toward the latter view, perhaps detrimentally so. The term "my own worst enemy" comes to mind. Self-sabotage has been a driving theme for a good part of my adult life. Some things I'm doing, or not doing, have me feeling like I'm living in the past. When I catch myself in these patterns (which is pretty much what this post is), I am inclined to chuckle a bit. Like, "so this is how we're gonna play this, huh?" But then a mental snap comes in and I remind myself that that was the old me. The old me. A lot of this desire to regain control stems from the opportunity, or opportunities, I have set myself up to take advantage of. It's so there that I just want to finish the one part to get to the next -- this semester could not be going any slower. But I give a lot of things the benefit of the doubt so to speak, and in a way I feel like there are still some lessons for me in this part of the opportunity. Sweat this: I went to school today, but did my work alone in the cafeteria rather than going to actual class. Maybe a lot of people do this, I don't know. But I did recognize the stubbornness of me wanting to take in the material my way: 'I don't need class when it's all right here and I can just do the notes.' Another big part of this pie is the old pal anxiety. Fearing going into class again. Stubborn and anxious. Something tells me that was not a good combo. Anyway, through writing this I have identified the problem, or at least a problem, or maybe not problem but factor. And that is part of it. Part of the lesson that i'm entrenched in, part of the battle between a negative and positive voice. I think we all have this magnetism; people's polarities are stronger or weaker on either side. Now, I start looking at it as a mental/emotional/creative PPF (standing for Production Possibility Frontier). This is something that I actually did learn in social science "class" (economics) today. Recently, my output has been mainly creative (recording and releasing the first part of a new mixtape, doing the cover art for three singles in part two, thinking about "where to cook" for part two, etc.). Going into week 4 of school, there has been moderate input and minimal output; there have been assignments due, but it feels like nothing is happening. This could be, and probably is, because sufficient emphasis has not been put on the intellectual good/service of school. In the immediate future, my PPF needs to shift back to academics as assignments and tests ramp up again. I'm like a country that produces two main goods/services: school-work and dope things. The dope things are being produced in good amounts, and in turn, the mental/intellectual resources shift to that output. Again, in the next few weeks before study break week, a hard shift needs to be made in school-work's favour. I can't have one of my two major exports fall by the wayside, especially when I have spent four out of the last six years trying to get this service up and running, and have a major potential investor on the horizon. That said, there will be no better feeling than sliding into study break week with a good academic foundation to stand on, and with the resource of time to produce the dope things. Okay, good talk.
On the heels of starting a new hip hop project, I decided to take my genius.com account to a new level and annotate the lyrics from my first project, “The Writer”. This digital lyric book describes meanings behind some of the lines in the verses, explaining some of the allusions and telling stories behind and between the lines.
Here are the links for the eight tracks:
Lonely Writer – http://genius.com/Ully-lonely-writer-lyrics#note-4715933
Empire Remix (Kids of the Apocalypse) – http://genius.com/Ully-empire-remix-kids-of-the-apocalypse-lyrics#note-4716047
10 AM in Guelph – http://genius.com/Ully-10-am-in-guelph-lyrics#note-4716162
Heart of the City – http://genius.com/Ully-heart-of-the-city-lyrics#note-4716379
Soul Contol – http://genius.com/Ully-soul-control-lyrics#note-4716583
I’ve said before in regard to this project: my ambition far exceeded my talent when it came to actually rapping. It was my first foray into speaking these rhymes after consistently writing them, and others, down for at least five years prior. But it is good to look back, especially going into this new project, and know that you will do better going forward.
All the songs are embedded into the page, to listen while reading or whatever. If so inclined, sign up for a Genius account and add your own annotations.
Check it out!
In a post on my other blog I mentioned that I had a new instructor/professor for two of my classes this semester, and that he is a character. Aside from the man being a down-to-earth, funny, 60-ish-year-old, he also has an awesome story. And perhaps this is what makes him so light-hearted and humble. He explained during a lecture on the history of the repression of science between 200-1000 AD — the dark ages — that there is almost always, unfailingly, an issue or a few that it takes people a while to move beyond. For example, the role of women to be the ones “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen” when prof was a young boy has changed and is continually, and thankfully, evolving way past that. Another issue cited was the civil rights movements of gays and lesbians and racial minorities. What makes people move past preconceived notions like, “Well there’s only two Chinese families in my town; one owns a restaurant, and one owns a laundromat. So they must all own restaurants and laundromats.”? The answer is education, according to prof. And I agree.
Later the subject of education came up again, and prof detailed his fascinating history for us students. He had dropped out of school in Grade 8 for lack of interest. “What was I to do now?” he said, “I only have a Grade 8 education.” Realizing he had to go back. He started attending night school, only to find that he was engaging with the material because the teachers who were presenting it actually made it interesting! So he stuck with it, got his education. Then, he had a baby at 19. Well, not him personally, but he was partially responsible for the production of a baby. So he got a job driving transport trucks for Gay Lea foods. You might think that’s the end of the story: he retired a hard-working trucker. But since he was standing up in front of us an accredited college professor, we knew there was more to the story. Prof went back to school, university this time. I’m not clear on the timeline as my Rain-Man-like recall is failing me slightly, but I think he went back in his mid-20’s. The man who stood in front of us 40-some years later has four university degrees: three bachelor’s and one master’s, if memory serves me. He is also an accredited counsellor. He has taught high school science, and shop class. “We would learn something in science class one day, and we’d go over to shop class and try to make it!” While he was telling us all of this, I called to my mind a bit from comedian Louis C.K. that mostly resonates:
Now, as it relates to the video, Prof. I suppose is a hybrid of the guy with three PhD’s and the 55-year-old garbageman. Not a perfect analogy, but hey, I just wanted to throw an hilarity-filled comedy bit into this post. So, anyway, long story short, all things considered, all things being equal, I’m blown away by Prof’s story, specifically the persistence of conscious thought on which he operated and continues to do so today. Also, something that really strikes me about Prof’s career choice is just the Pay-It-Forward nature of his story. The man believes in education just as the people who taught him believed in it. And I think he is turning me into a believer as well.
This post comes on the eve after my application to university for the fall. I can’t help but draw at least one parallel with Prof’s life story. We were/are both a similar age when we went out for post-secondary endeavours. I represent the persistence of conscious thought that drives us forward. He represents the nuanced yet simple renaissance man that I aim to be. We both aim for change through education, one that betters ourselves and our communities. And, believe it, that change is gonna come.
This song popped into my head out of the blue yesterday. Had to share it.
I wasn’t sure which version of this song to put up (there are so many good covers), so I will just go with the original — Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna Come