The Black Crayon in the Crayola Box

Life-Lesson #9 Everybody Has a Story A tinge of self-hatred arises when I think about the color of my skin. When I was younger, I was made fun of because of the darkness of my skin-complexion. I remember being nine, … Continue reading

A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Jazz

*Today, I’d like to share my love of jazz with you, my reader. Normally on Mondays I post poetry, but today I thought I’d do something a little different.

One of my favorite jazz musicians, Chet Baker, a vocalist and trumpet player, is the inspiration behind this Monday’s post. If you’ve never heard a record of his, let me spell it out for you: He is amazing. His voice is hauntingly smooth – it almost sounds like his throat is coated with honey, and that the musical notes have no choice but to roll out eloquently and soothingly. He is responsible for creating one of my favorite songs of all time – the notes are slow and rich, the theme perfectly romantic. Overall, the song evokes a sense of deep yearning, a sense of hopeless love, and a touch of mysticism. Take some time from your day, even if you’re not remotely interested in jazz/jazz musicians and listen to the song, While My Lady Sleeps. Venture into that place with me – the place where all else fades away, your worries, your regrets, and sorrows, and all you can hear are the sweet melancholy tones of Chet Baker singing his heart away. Enjoy!

While My Lady Sleeps by Chet Baker

The moon will rise
but all in vain –
For there’s no use in shining
while my lady sleeps


The breeze will sing
a sad refrain –
because her heart is pining
while my lady sleeps


Starlight and moonlight
and amorous melody wasted –
What can they mean
when i’m yearning for kisses never tasted?


The night may hold a million dreams –
but when her eyes discover
just a lonely lover
she will hurry on
with a sigh to the dawn,
while the willow tree weeps
and my lady sleeps…

 

Invisible Wo(man)

Life-Lesson #8

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 I have always thought of “transparency” as a really wonderful thing – being so genuine that you always give other people the “real you.” There are no walls to hide behind, no pressure to embody something or someone – all you are is you.

I’ve found that people long for transparency – in their lives, in personal relationships, and even in the working environment. Transparency can be defined as ultimate honesty. We often live our lives invisibly. We move through the world without people ever really seeing us. We control how much of ourselves we want others to see and often “ration out” parts of ourselves, never truly giving people the “whole” us or the real us.

To be “visible” to another person is to allow that person to see you for who you are – every color, every shade, and every detail that makes you you. Often times, we wear masks, put up facades, and even take on completely false identities in an attempt to either find who we are, or hide who we really are on the inside. Rather than hiding who we are, we should seek ultimate honesty. Albeit, it is extremely difficult to be brutally honest with yourself and with another person. In fact, being brutally honest in any area of your life requires much vulnerability. We run from genuine communication with other people because of our own shame and fear – we do not want to be truly known for who we are because we don’t even like who we are – sometimes. On the one hand, we might understand that ultimate honesty with ourselves and others is important, but I relate our understanding of this notion to one understanding the importance of literacy, but never picking up a book to read. We might know that confronting our real selves can be beneficial, but we often never do it. It seems much easier to hide behind the walls and partitions we set up in our lives.

We often think:

“I cannot open up to another person – he or she will hurt me.”

“If he or she gets to know me, this person might reject me because he or she will not like me for who I am.”

“I do not want another person to know who I am because I am not worth knowing.”

All of these thoughts only add up to one conclusion: we like to disguise our pain. We feign strength by acting arrogantly, we exude confidence to mask our insecurities, we crave attention from others to assuage our issues with self-worth. My point is simply this, if we could learn to peel back the layers of hurt, shame, guilt, anger, resentment, fear, and bitterness, by fully accepting the notion of ultimate honesty, our lives could be richer, fuller, and more meaningful.

Nowadays, we live as if the truth does not exist. The truth is that we are so blind to the reality of our human condition – that we are broken and are in need of love. As a result, we find ourselves hungry for a truth and an honesty that we forget exists. This is where transparency comes in. We long for honesty – it is an elixir with a horrid taste, a vaccine with a brutal delivery. In other words, honesty, transparency, and truthfulness are most often the things we dread, but are ironically the things we need. Being transparent helps us navigate the world with a sense of hope. There is hope in being honest with yourself – being honest with yourself leads to self-acceptance and even healing of the inner-self. Further, being your most honest, most true, most genuine self with another person gives that person the capacity to do the same. In living out the idea of “transparency” you help others move toward being more transparent. Essentially, it becomes safe to be yourself (whether you are weird as all get-out, as off-kilter as Jackson Pollock, or as wonderfully strange as Edgar Allen Poe), when other people are being themselves also. With as many people as there are in the world, it is a guarantee that there is always someone stranger than you are, quirkier than you can be, and in the same respect, it is guaranteed that someone will be just as weird as you.

In essence, a transparent lifestyle is multifaceted. Transparent people come to grips with their emotional wounds, are vulnerable enough to seek help in mending those wounds, and live out the idea that other people are just as wounded, and just as broken, and just as in need of honest, truthful communication. I encourage you to be one of those people. Be a person that is willing to share your scars, your insecurities and your regrets – those are the qualities that remind us of our humanity. Being transparent and accepting the truth about who you are allows you to hope, moves you to love, and guides you to change.

Move from fake to authentic,

from hurt to healed,

from ashamed to a c c e p t e d.

On Repeat

My hands are folded –

Crying familiar tears,
Suppressing old thoughts,
Watching myself throw in the towel
again.

All of my regrets look like you:

Cheap hugs,
False laughter,
Befuddled advice.

My eyes are closed –
Searching for relief among the wreckage,
Giving way to muffled sighs,
Writing the same sad plot over and over
again.

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Rhythmic Rain

Pitter, patter
Cleanse my soul.

Exfoliate my reason, my worry.

Dream with me
Drop after drop.

Purge me,
Release me,
Love me.

Rhythm, rattle
Music playing on the strings of my heart.

I want to drink in your damp loneliness;
I want to be felt by you.

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Falling Into Autumn

Quiet petals are dampened,
Moistened with dew and glowing.

The morning bird calls
a faint and slow cadence –
Blades of grass glisten.

The autumn air is vibrating.
On the heels of excitement
come the hosts of change.

The breeze is different,
The winds are folding.

It is time for something new.

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